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State’s pot consultant: Marijuana tax revenue likely to be much less than estimate

OLYMPIA — Washington’s new pot consultant, Mark Kleiman, said Thursday night the state will probably bring in less than half of the $450 million a year estimated  in tax revenue from marijuana sales.

Mark Kleiman, recently named at the state’s first marijuana consultant as regulators work on rules for production, sale and taxing of pot, said in an interview on the Washington state public affairs network TVW Thursday night that the $450 million estimate in revenue was the “top range” by the state Revenue Department.

It’s more likely there will be a total of $450 million in total sales, he said.

“Maybe 40% will come back as (tax) revenue,” he said. “And that’s in a steady state. I would think in the first year … I think if they could bring in $100 million that year, they would be doing good work.”

potguyBut Kleiman said what makes any estimates troublesome is that the state must consider the illicit marijuana market and the medical marijuana market.

“Any revenue market depends on people coming to the licit (legal) market and not the illicit market,” he said, adding that it’s possible the pricing of the legal marijuana will be “uncompetitive.”

5 comments

  • malcolmkyle

    When we regulate something we do NOT automatically condone it's use; the regulations concerning alcohol and tobacco are there to protect us from the vast increase in criminality that would otherwise exist if these substances were prohibited.

    A regulated and licensed distribution network for all mind altering substances would put responsible adult supervision in between children and premature access to drug distribution outlets (illegal street dealers). Regulated and licensed distribution would reflect and respect society's values, thus preventing children obtaining easy access to these substances. What we need is legalized regulation. What we have now, due to prohibition, is a non-regulated black market to which everybody has access and where all the profits go to organized crime and terrorists.

  • concerned

    the death of Democracy ! Was this man's only quantification that he did not believe it was possible? when will the state stop stalling and act on our new LAW

    • Anonymous

      Probably about as quickly and efficiently as they enforced the old LAW that made it illegal for $450M+ worth of pot to be bought and sold to "concerned" citizens like yourself.

  • james b

    I own a marijuana dispensary in Washington State and this consultant is probably a plant to sabotage the industry before it starts. They are starting to attack the medical marijuana dispensaries who are barely making money as profiteers. If you watch the video they complain that they cant make a profit because medical marijuana dispensaries don't pay taxes. All it takes is a simple goggle search to find articles about the department of revenue taxing dispensaries. So all ready we have a consultant spreading lies about the industry. Second only 3 cities in the state allow dispensaries. Seattle Tacoma ,Issaqua and a few others. So the state will have a 90 percent geographical advantage. 4th Only 2 percent of the population has medical marijuana recommendation. Most dispensaries are good at self policing them selves by checking authorizations and Id's to make sure only patients get in. That gives the state a 98 percent advantage on citizens 21 and over. And 5th Dispensaries can only service Washington State Residents where the State will be able to sell to tourist. Washington and Colorado have a monopoly on the ENTIRE PLANET for selling cannabis. Imagine if they said the only place in the world you can buy cigarettes was Alabama or the only place you could buy liquor was Kentucky? Billions of dollars will flow into both states that the medical marijuana community can not touch. Any dispensary owner will tell you that since marijuana was legalized that have had to turn away thousands if not 10's of thousands of customers who are trying to purchase marijuana all of these people will be going into the state coffers. The medical marijuana community is no threat to the State.

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