A new study on Washington State’s recreational marijuana industry shows a bright future for state coffers.
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council predicts that the recreational marijuana industry will generate nearly $190 million in state taxes during a four-year period starting in mid-2015. The first two years of that period could see the state earn $51 million, the study said, with $138.5 million being generated from 2017-2019.
A little less than half of the total revenue is expected to come from the excise tax and license fees for marijuana businesses; the rest will come from retail sales taxes and business taxes.
Steve Lerch, executive director of the council, called the tax prediction an “estimate,” and did not elaborate on the methods used for calculating the $190 million number. He said the council will likely revise the final tally after recreational sales begin later this year.
Because of this lack of transparency, it’s difficult to extrapolate the numbers to come up with an estimate for total marijuana sales.
The council chose 2015 as its starting date because it assumed that due to local moratoriums and concerns, state-wide sales would not begin until next year.