Washington state collected a total of $189 million in legal marijuana income and license fees in fiscal year 2016, all but $3 million of it from the state’s marijuana excise, or sales tax. The data are in the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board’s FY 2016 Annual Report (p. 16).
The report also shows that the marijuana revenues were almost equal to that from liquor, and that the marijuana excise tax income to the state for fiscal 2016 of $186 million exceeded by $22 million the amount projected by the LCB in June 2016 just prior to that period’s end.
Those June 2016 LCB projections covered fiscal 2015 through fiscal 2019. While they may ultimately prove to underestimate actual end-of-year marijuana excise tax revenues to the state, they nonetheless show sharp growth expected.
According to the state’s marijuana data dashboard, the state has collected $280 million so far in marijuana excise taxes in fiscal 2017, which ends June 30. The earlier projections were for $272 million in this fiscal year.
The excise tax is 37 percent on retail sales.
Sales of legal marijuana in Washington state have climbed to $1.2 billion in the fiscal year now drawing to a close, up from $786 million in fiscal 2016, and $259 million the year before.
RCW 69.50.540 sets the template for allocations of state spending funded through marijuana sales taxes and licensing fees.
Half that intake in fiscal 2015, 2016, and 2017 went to the Basic Health Plan Trust Account.
That account is described by the Office of Financial Management as providing “necessary basic health care services to working persons and others who lack coverage, at a cost…that does not create a barrier to…utilization …”
According to the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s June 2016 report, the next largest share in fiscal 2017 was to go to the General Fund (31 percent).
It was followed by the Department of Social and Health Services for curbing substance abuse (10.7 percent).
The remainder was to be directed to community health centers, public education, research and drop-out prevention.