Two representatives from the state of Washington have introduced legislation that would implement a sales taxation of 25% for all medical cannabis dispensaries in the republic.
Representative Ross Hunter and his colleague Reuven Carlyle are the two individuals responsible for the bill, and they believe that the taxation of medicinal cannabis sales will encourage individuals to purchase their supply from a state-licensed dispensary.
“What we don’t want to have is two sources of supply, one of which is regulated and taxed, and one that is not,” Hunter claimed.
The state Liquor Control Board is in the process of implementing regulations for the newly adopted Initiative-502 law with hopes of detouring less than honest cannabis businesses from succumbing to the allure of the black market.
Furthermore, under the regulations of I-502 the sales of cannabis will be taxed at a rate of 25% at each juncture, from cultivator to customer.
Philip Dawdy is the spokesperson for the Washington Cannabis Association, and he proclaims the taxation of medicinal cannabis will put an unnecessary financial strain on an already economically strapped patient base.
“There will be much gnashing of teeth in the patient community,” Dawdy avowed. “Anything that drives up the cost of medicine is not going to be helpful for patients.”
Not only do those persons representing the dispensary system disagree with the taxation implementation, but individuals such as Alison Holcomb, the campaign manager for I-502, feel the measure may not be in the patient’s best interest.
The language of the bill in question is drafted to read that the medical dispensaries operating “pursuant to” the state’s medical cannabis law would be taxed accordingly.
There’s only one problem, the actuality is that the medicinal cannabis program guidelines weren’t written to allow a dispensary system to begin with. What? Yes, it’s true.
The state’s medical cannabis law was written only to allow for community gardens by which patients can share their cannabis with one another.
The dispensary system just kind of popped up like a properly propagated seed, and whether it was mere ignorance or true tolerance, the law enforcement officials of Washington seemed to turn a blind eye towards the quasi-legal businesses which has led to a proliferation of dispensaries throughout the republic.
So for a dispensary owner to complain about a possible taxation enactment seems somewhat trivial considering the businesses shouldn’t technically exist in the first place.
Several state officials are apparently in agreement with the fact that having two distinctive cannabis operations is somewhat illogical. Their solution is to have the obviously tolerated, quasi-state legal dispensaries apply for recreational retail outlet licensing in order to eliminate any confusion and possible complications.
“We expect this will wind up being less like a prescription drug, and more like a drug you might be prescribed by your doctor but that is also available over the counter,” Hunter said.
One system of distribution and sales sounds logical, but I’m sure to the current patient base in Washington it conveys as a less than amazing alternative.
We can only hope the bureaucrats can iron out their differences of opinion without affecting the most vital aspect of the whole medicinal cannabis program, the patient base.
If you are a Washington resident with apprehensions about Intiative-502 or the current situation concerning the taxation of medical cannabis, then get actively involved on a grass roots level. The only person keeping your voice from being heard is you.