August 10, 2014
Legal Pot Sales In Washington Hit $3.8 Million In First Month

This first full month of legal pot sales in Washington state brought in $3.8 million, ABC News is reporting.

As of this post, only 18 stores throughout the state sold legal marijuana in July and 16 stores sold pot so far in August, even though 40 licenses have been issued.

Brian Smith, spokesperson for the Washington Liquor Control Board (the state agency that manages the legal pot trade), told ABC News:

"It's off to a healthy start, considering that the system isn't fully up and running yet."
Like Colorado, Washington taxes legal pot through excise taxes and sales taxes, according to Investing. Excise taxes are levied during the manufacturing process; when the grower sells the pot to a processor, when the processor sells the pot to a retailer and when the retailer sells the pot to the customer. Sales taxes are levied at the point of sale. At each point in the process, the tax rate is 25 percent.

The tax revenue from July's legal sales is expected to top $1 million; the Washington legislature expects total tax revenues from pot to top $122 million during the upcoming two-year budget cycle. This $122 million dollar estimate is a considerably more optimistic one than what was released just a few months ago, which predicted $51 million in marijuana tax revenue in the first two years, according to the Washington Post. Washington plans to use the money to cover administrative costs, fund a substance-abuse recovery program and fund a marijuana-education program, among other things.

Legal pot sales in Washington, like Colorado, have vastly exceeded expectations. Supply problems, backlogs in licensing applications and other concerns have caused some stores to experience shortages and long lines (see this Inquisitr article). And, in a dramatic case of Failure To Think Things Through, the first man to legally buy pot in Washington state promptly failed a drug test and lost his job (he later got his job back - see this Inquisitr article).

Despite mountains of tax revenue, legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington has not been without its problems. According to Care2, veterinarians have seen a rise in pets overdosing on pot after having gotten into their owners' stash of edibles. Similarly, several humans have overdosed on edibles as well, largely due to the fact that the amount of THC - the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana - can vary wildly from one edible to the next, and people often eat more than the recommended dose, according to Beyond Chronic.

Is Washington's (and Colorado's) influx of tax revenue from legalized pot a wolf in sheep's clothing? Or is legalization the way to go? Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Image courtesy of: The Daily Beast