New Recreational Marijuana Reform Bill Takes Effect in Washington

Washington state — often criticized for having the weakest of the legalized states’ recreational marijuana laws — is making major adjustments to the state’s retail cannabis industry.

Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2136 this week, which eliminates the current three-tier tax structure from I-502 and replaces it with a flat 37 percent excise tax made at the point of sale.

Additionally, the new law places limitations on who gets access to the state’s marijuana tax revenue: specifically, localities that have chosen not to allow marijuana businesses will not be eligible for any tax dollars from the industry. The bill also relaxes certain zoning issues regarding where retail stores and grow operations are allowed to operate.

Washington voters legalized recreational cannabis in 2012 via Initiative 502, and the first cannabis retailers opened almost exactly one year ago.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, state lawmakers passed another sweeping reform bill that folded Washington’s widely unregulated medical marijuana industry into the I-502 recreational market.


Photo Credit: Will

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