WASHINGTON: Legal marijuana could boost Washington state’s tax revenue by $25 million by next July, with an estimated $200 million increase by mid-2017, according to state economists.
The first available data on taxes and fees the state can expect from legalized recreational marijuana were released on Thursday, and the state’s budget outlooks has improved, economist Steve Lerch tells the Spokesman-Review. However, more than half of the revenue brought in by legal marijuana is required to go to specific programs, with much of it being eaten up by increasing salaries and existing government programs.
But the regulating agency, the state Liquor Control Board, said nearly $14 million worth of marijuana was sold between July 8 – when legal weed stores first opened – and last Monday. Such numbers are expected to increase as the number of marijuana vendors increases.
Economic forecasters are predicting that the state’s legal recreational marijuana market is expected to bring in about $636 million to state coffers through the middle of 2019.