Tag Archives: Washington

Washington State’s Marijuana Tax Has Raised More than $3b

Brett Davis, The Center Square
January 8, 2022

Washington state’s tax coffers are much higher because of legal marijuana.

That’s according to a recent report by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a Washington, D.C.-based group advocating for legal reforms on cannabis. The report looks at tax revenue generated from state-legal, adult-use cannabis since 2014 when sales began in Colorado and Washington state.

For every $1 billion in revenue collected from the state’s cannabis retail tax, nearly $600 million is funneled into public health initiatives, including a fund that provides health insurance for low-income families.

Marijuana is big business Washington, one of 18 states with laws that legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adults 21 and older. In Washington state, a 37% excise tax is levied on the retail transaction price. The state levies a 6.5% sales tax.

Washington state collected an estimated $480.9 million in marijuana tax revenue through the first nine months of 2021, not counting millions more in local taxes levied by cities and towns where recreational pot is sold in retail establishments, according to the report. Local taxes totaled an estimated $188.3 million from July 2014 through October 2021, per the report.

In 2020, the figure for statewide marijuana tax revenue was an estimated $614.5 million, and in 2019 it was $477.3 million. The Evergreen State collected a higher amount of tax revenue from legal marijuana than the state did from alcohol in those two fiscal years, the report notes.

During the June 2014–October 2021 time period, marijuana tax revenue is estimated to have filled state coffers with more than $3 billion.

Washington is a pot-pioneering state. It became one of the first two states, along with Colorado, to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana when voters passed Initiative 502 on Nov. 6, 2012.

Marijuana has since become more mainstream than ever, not just in Washington state but throughout the nation, if the money generated by legal weed is any indication.

As of December 2021, states reported a combined total of $10.4 billion in tax revenue from legal, adult-use cannabis sales, with more than $3 billion reported so far for last year, according to the report.

The other 16 states that legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana are Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Virginia.

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Four People Arrested for Arson Across West Coast Amid Wildfires

JACK PHILLIPS 
September 13, 2020

Two people in Washington state, one in Oregon, and one in California have been arrested on arson charges as firefighters battle numerous wildfires throughout the West Coast.

Michael Jarrod Bakkela, 41, is accused of starting the Almeda Fire, said the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office, reported OregonLive. Bakkela was arrested on two counts of arson, 15 counts of criminal mischief, and 14 counts of reckless endangerment, officials said.

A witness in Phoenix, Oregon, said they saw a person who was later identified as Bakkela lighting a fire behind their house on Quail Lane. Residents were forced to flee their homes after seeing him allegedly set the fire.

Epoch Times Photo
Michael Jarrod Bakkela (Jackson County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in a statement, police arrived to find that “Bakkela was standing close to a very large fire threatening several homes.”

They also found that Bakkela was lodged on a probation violation detainer for possession of methamphetamine of more two ounces.

Local reports said that the Almeda Fire has destroyed hundreds of homes and left at least two people dead.

Authorities arrested two people in connection to fires in Washington state, identifying one as Jeffrey Alan Acord, who is accused of starting a fire along Highway 167. Officials said that he live-streamed himself setting the blaze and apparently reported himself to police.

Witnesses told KIRO7 that Acord allegedly was seen walking on the highway with a lighter and cardboard. The outlet reported that he is a regular at Black Lives Matter and anti-police rallies in Seattle.

Jacob Altona, 28, was arrested in connection to arson in Washington state near State Route 512 and State Route 7, officials said.

In California, Anita Esquivel, 37, was arrested for deliberately setting fires in California, said the California Highway Patro, according to KION-TV.

The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office told KION that there is no evidence that Esquivel has a connection to Black Lives Matter or far-left group Antifa.

Officials said Esquivel allegedly set fires on Highway 101 near Boronda Road in Salinas. She was taken to Monterey County Jail on arson charges.

On Saturday, the National Interagency Fire Center noted that about 97 fires have burned 4.7 million acres across the West Coast.

“More than 29,000 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to wildfires. Evacuation orders are in place for 40 large fires in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Idaho, and Utah,” the agency said.