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 Voters can then check off whether they want the change repealed or maintained.

Can Congress Get Stoned If D.C. Legalizes Marijuana?

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  When the District of Columbia Board of Elections agreed to put an initiative on the November 4 ballot that would legalize marijuana in the district, they prompted an interesting question: Will Congress be allowed to get stoned?

The short answer is—yes. If passed, Initiative 71 will allow D.C. residents above the age of 21 to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana, cultivate up to six cannabis plants at home, and transfer, not sell, up to 1 ounce. Assuming that members of Congress who live in D.C. are adults, they, too, will be permitted to get stoned at their leisure.

But don’t start dreaming of hot-boxing the Capitol. “This initiative changes D.C. law,” says Bill Piper, the director of public affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Marijuana possession would still be illegal on federal property.” Until cannabis is removed from the schedule I substance list, it will not be allowed on federal property. So members of Congress couldn’t light up at work—but they could if they live in the district. “Possessing marijuana in their own home would be legal under D.C. law, as it would be for anybody else,” says Piper.