By Hunter Dublin | Feb. 03, 2023
The Washington State House of Representatives is considering a bill (HB 1641) that would enact a tiered tax on marijuana products, with the rate depending on the THC concentration.
The main purpose of the HB 1641 bill is to address public health challenges posed by high-potency cannabis, and it could also be used to protect younger people from purchasing these products.
The proposed tax rate varies depending on the product type and THC concentration, with varying percentages of 37%, 50%, and 65%. There is some concern that this tax could drive customers away from legal cannabis stores and into the black market.
Advocates of the bill say it will help reduce access to high-potency cannabis for minors, and will help generate revenue for the state.
In addition to the tax rate, another provision of the bill limits purchases of high concentrations of THC to those under 25 who are not qualified patients or designated providers. Rep. Kelly Chambers (R-25th) argues that this will help protect young people, noting that recreational cannabis has become increasingly popular in the last decade.
However, there are also worries that high taxes and other restrictions could make things more difficult for legal cannabis stores. Adan Espino, executive director of the Craft Cannabis Coalition, says it is important to consider how such regulations could affect local businesses.
"People are going to get what they want. Is this an avenue for them to have to go look somewhere else?” he said.
The tiered tax on marijuana products is currently under consideration in Washington State, with debate ongoing over the potential impacts of such a policy. It remains to be seen whether it will be enacted into law.
In the meantime, public health advocates are hopeful that it will help limit access to high-potency cannabis for younger people. At the same time, local businesses have expressed concern that these taxes could drive customers away from legal stores.
Only time will tell whether or not this proposed tax bill is successful in achieving its goals. For now, the debate continues.