WASHINGTON: Washington has stumbled a few times in implementing Initiative-502, which legalized the use and sale, as well as taxation, of recreational marijuana.
The Evergreen State and Colorado were the first states in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana, in the November 2012 elections. Washington’s first legal marijuana sale occurred in July 2014.
Criticism over Washington’s implementation of I-502 began when dispensaries quickly (some within hours of opening) ran out of marijuana to sell. And no supply surge was in sight in the weeks that followed. Media headlines such as “Weedless in Seattle” were widespread.
The state also was criticized by some for its high marijuana taxes, charging a 25-percent excise tax (charged at each stage of growing, processing and selling) and a 9.6-percent sales tax. (For comparison, Colorado charges a 15-percent excise tax, and a 2.9% retail and medical marijuana sales tax, plus a 10% retail marijuana special sales tax.)