The initiative to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Washington was estimated on Friday to raise up to $1.9 billion in new tax revenue over five years — or zero. The wild swing, included in an analysis by the state Office of Financial Management, reflects broad uncertainty about the potential federal intervention in an initiative that would set up the nation’s first regulated market for recreational marijuana use.
The sky-high revenue estimate, which was previously disclosed in March, is based on an assumption that 363,000 customers in Washington would consume 187,000 pounds of marijuana in new state-license retail shops if Initiative 502 were approved in the Nov. 6 election. If it does pass, I-502 would earmark $227 million a year of new marijuana taxes for the state’s basic health plan and $113 million a year for drug research, prevention and treatment.
Statewide administrative costs, covering such things as training police and licensing, would be more than $16 million a year. But the fiscal analysis makes clear the “significant uncertainties related to federal enforcement of federal criminal laws” outlawing marijuana. The analysis says that federal law enforcement could possibly target state-licensed growers and retailers, which “may prevent the development of a functioning marijuana market.”
You can find more on this developing story here.
[image: Google images Washington]
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