WASHINGTON: Washington’s new legal recreational marijuana market is expected to bring nearly $190 million to state coffers over a four-year period starting in mid-2015, according to an economic forecast released Wednesday.
The forecast by the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council showed that $51 million in revenue is expected for the 2015-2017 biennium from marijuana production and sales. An additional $138.5 million is expected for the next two-year budget that ends mid-2019. A little under half of that revenue is expected from excise tax and license fees related to the marijuana market, and the rest is expected to come from retail sales tax and business taxes.
Steve Lerch, the council’s executive director, said that because of concerns over local moratoriums and bans on pot sales and general uncertainty about how the system will work, the council has made assumptions that sales won’t start until June of next year.
“Obviously, as we see any actual sales we’ll be able to revise, if necessary, our forecast,” he said. “But these seemed like reasonable estimates.”