WA Bill Would Eliminate Tax Breaks for Growers

Marijuana growers in Washington State would be unable to cash in on the state’s agricultural tax breaks under a bill proposed by state lawmakers on Tuesday.

Washington offers tax incentives for a variety of agricultural expenses, such as replacement parts for machinery and vehicles, and the use of biofuels to run machinery, among others. According to local experts, cannabis cultivation sites could quality for nearly three dozen of these tax breaks, which would save them a combined $3.5 million each year in taxes.

But the proposed bill would block marijuana growers from using the tax breaks for 10 years. Rep. Reuven Carlyle, a sponsor of the bill, said the decade without tax breaks would give lawmakers adequate time to study the industry so they can make better taxation decisions in the future. He also said the long list of agricultural tax incentives was not originally designed with the marijuana industry in mind.

But the tax breaks would benefit the growers, who already are prohibited from writing off the cost of production on their federal income tax forms. Not all lawmakers support the bill. Rep. Cary Condotta said the bill would make it more challenging for the legal marijuana industry to compete with the black market.

“Why is this product different from any other ag product?” Condotta said.