Washington Voters To Weigh In On State Pot Taxes

WASHINGTON:  Voters in Washington state will be asked next month to weigh in on the state’s taxation of pot.

Specifically, they will be asked if they approve of the state legislature’s decision to revoke tax preferences for the newly legalized recreational pot industry, effectively raising prices for consumers. The vote will be non-binding but could embarrass the state legislature.

After voters legalized marijuana use in a 2012 ballot initiative, state lawmakers declared the industry was non-agricultural, meaning that pot farmers don’t get the same tax breaks as those who grow things like corn or wheat. That effectively passes the taxes on to pot-smokers, anti-tax activists say.

Advisory Note 8 on the ballot will ask: “The legislature eliminated, without a vote of the people, agricultural excise tax preferences for various aspects of the marijuana industry, costing an estimated $24,903,000 in the first ten years, for government spending.” Voters can then check off whether they want the change repealed or maintained.