Washington State’s legal marijuana market continues to climb, with average daily sales now surpassing $4.8 million.
Dispensaries in Washington State have sold more than $2.4 billion worth of recreational marijuana since adult use cannabis was legalized in 2014, according to the latest data from the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board. So far in fiscal year (FY) 2017, which began July 1, 2016, there has been $1.18 billion in legal marijuana sold, already surpassing FY 2016’s totals of $972 million with three months remaining. Data shows that there have been 155,494 pounds of useable marijuana and 20,736 pounds of extracts produced so far in FY 2017.
The state’s market is now averaging $4.8 million in daily marijuana sales, a new high, and generating nearly $1 million in daily taxes. This comes out to a monthly average of $144 million in marijuana sold, and nearly $26 million in monthly taxes garnered. Washington’s average total monthly marijuana sales – considering both recreational and medical marijuana sales – now surpasses those of Colorado’s.
In Washington State, legal retail sales of marijuana began in 2014 after voters passed Initiative 50 in 2012. Since then, sales figures have continued to climb steadily. The state’s 2016 sales totals — $696 million — were nearly double from the year prior. According to the Liquor and Cannabis Board, 490 retail licenses have been distributed.
Under Washington’s law, retail marijuana consumers are faced with a 37 percent excise tax and 9.6 percent sales tax, while medical marijuana patients are only subject to the excise tax. Tax revenue goes to the Liquor and Cannabis Control Board to oversee sales and collect taxes, education and youth prevention programs, substance abuse prevention and treatment, community health centers, and funding the state’s share of Medicaid. Any remaining tax income goes to the state’s general fund. State lawmakers are currently debating whether a portion of marijuana taxes should be used to fund public schools. Since legal sales began, the state has generated $401 million in total tax revenue.
Washington is one of eight U.S. states that have passed recreational marijuana measures. Under its law, adults aged 21 and older can legally possess and use up to 1 ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of solid marijuana infused products, and 72 ounces of liquid marijuana infused products. The state was one of the first of now 28 states to legalize medical marijuana after voters approved I-692 in 1998. Consumption must be done in private.
Washington isn’t the only state where the legal cannabis market is growing. Across the United States, legal marijuana sales surpassed $6.7 billion in 2016, up nearly 30 percent from the year prior. With four new recreational markets slated for implementation in the coming years, cannabis market analysts have predicted the legal cannabis market will exceed $21 billion by 2021. A recent report from GreenWave Advisors suggests that all 50 U.S. states could legalize adult use marijuana by then.