Medical Marijuana vs. Recreational Use

When proponents of recreational marijuana use in Washington State began their fight to legalize the substance one thing never occurred to them…they would hit a bump in the road caused by the medical marijuana industry. A bump they have hit however leaving some to ask how on earth did this happen?

The problem lies in the regulations, or lack thereof, within the medical marijuana industry. Apparently there is a concern within state government that without regulations to govern the medical marijuana industry, it may be almost impossible to enforce the recreation regulations being developed now. Currently the medical marijuana industry is largely unregulated and untaxed putting it in direct conflict with the recreational part of the industry. For officials the issue is simple, if you can’t tax the medical side, the state stands to lose millions in tax revenue to those who are able to take advantage of being a medical marijuana user. On the recreational side, assuming the new regulations are in place, tax revenue expected to roll in beginning in 2014

Washington State Republican Sen. Ann Rivers has gone on the record saying that she thinks this is a loop hole that has to be closed. “People thought there were going to be laws surrounding it,” said Rivers. “But instead, medical marijuana is an avenue to sidestep the laws and regulations and the revenue.” Those who campaigned for the legalization of Marijuana claimed an expected $500 million in taxescould be collected each year from selling recreational marijuana, however, state marijuana consultant, UCLA professor Mark Kleiman, warned that competition from medical marijuana could cut that in half.

It is important to note that Washington State passed its medical marijuana law in 1998. Currently it requires no registry of medical marijuana patients and no taxation which now may change. Recreational marijuana use was passed with Initiative 502. It legalized up to an ounce of marijuana and the state Liquor Board has to put into place regulations. There will be a 25% excise tax on marijuana at three stages; the grower, the seller and the buyer. The buyer will also have to pay the state sales tax. The message all of this sends is pretty clear…medical marijuana will be a lot cheaper. Currently state officials would like to impose a 20% tax on medical marijuana but medical marijuana users aren’t buying it.”It either is medicine, or it’s not medicine,” states Steve Sarich who heads the Cannabis Action Coalition. “But it can’t be medicine and be taxed.”

About The Author :

Jim Richard has been involved in the Medical Marijuana Industry Industry in various ways from a active grower, Marijuana Dispensary web designer and active Washington State Marijuana activist. The Marijuana Hookup is his latest creation to connect medical patients with quality medical marijuana.

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