Legalizing Marijuana Could Bring Windfall To State

Aug 13, 2012

The ini­tia­tive to legal­ize, tax and reg­u­late mar­i­juana in Wash­ing­ton was esti­mated on Fri­day to raise up to $1.9 bil­lion in new tax rev­enue over five years — or zero. The wild swing, included in an analy­sis by the state Office of Finan­cial Man­age­ment, reflects broad uncer­tainty about the poten­tial fed­eral inter­ven­tion in an ini­tia­tive that would set up the nation’s first reg­u­lated mar­ket for recre­ational mar­i­juana use. The sky-high rev­enue esti­mate, which was pre­vi­ously dis­closed in March, is based on an assump­tion that 363,000 cus­tomers in Wash­ing­ton would con­sume 187,000 pounds of mar­i­juana in new state-license retail shops if Ini­tia­tive 502 were approved in the Nov.  6 elec­tion. If it does pass, I-502 would ear­mark $227 mil­lion a year of new mar­i­juana taxes for the state’s basic health plan and $113 mil­lion a year for drug research, pre­ven­tion and treat­ment. Statewide admin­is­tra­tive costs, cov­er­ing such things as train­ing police and licens­ing, would be more than $16 mil­lion a year. But the fis­cal analy­sis makes clear the “sig­nif­i­cant uncer­tain­ties related to fed­eral enforce­ment of fed­eral crim­i­nal laws” out­law­ing mar­i­juana.  The analy­sis says that fed­eral law enforce­ment could pos­si­bly tar­get state-licensed grow­ers and retail­ers, which “may pre­vent the devel­op­ment of a func­tion­ing mar­i­juana mar­ket.” Attached to the analy­sis is a 2010 let­ter from U.S.  Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder, sent as Cal­i­for­nia vot­ers were con­sid­er­ing legal­iz­ing mar­i­juana, vow­ing to “vig­or­ously enforce the CSA ( Con­trolled Sub­stances Act ) against those indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions that pos­sess, man­u­fac­ture and dis­trib­ute mar­i­juana for recre­ational use, even if such activ­i­ties are per­mit­ted under state law.” Ali­son Hol­comb, cam­paign man­ager for I-502, said the fed­eral response may depend on the mar­gin of vic­tory.  She noted that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has only spo­rad­i­cally inter­vened in the medical-marijuana indus­try, and usu­ally only when oper­a­tors appear to be abus­ing state law. “Vot­ers need to know that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment is giv­ing us the room to show what we want to do,” she said. This analy­sis tried to tally some costs and sav­ings for legal­ized mar­i­juana but lacked data to esti­mate sav­ings from fewer drug pros­e­cu­tions.  In 2011, 9,308 charges were filed in local and supe­rior courts statewide for pos­ses­sion of less than 40 grams, which would be legal under I-502. A new DUI thresh­old for mar­i­juana — a pro­vi­sion deeply unpop­u­lar with medical-marijuana patients — would likely raise nearly $4 mil­lion in fees from dri­vers charged under the pro­vi­sion. On Fri­day, the state Offi­cial of Finan­cial Man­age­ment also released an analy­sis of Ini­tia­tive 1240, which would allow the cre­ation of char­ter schools.  I-1240 would cost $3.1 mil­lion over five years, mostly to estab­lish an appli­ca­tion process, and to run an over­sight com­mis­sion. The ini­tia­tive would autho­rize as many as 40 char­ter schools, which are free, pub­lic, inde­pen­dent and can hire nonunion teach­ers.  They would be funded the same way as tra­di­tional pub­lic schools, on a per-student basis. Staff reporter Brian M.  Rosen­thal con­tributed to this report. Pub­date: Sat, 11 Aug 2012 Source: Seat­tle Times (WA) Copy­right: 2012 The Seat­tle Times Com­pany Con­tact: opinion@​seattletimes.​com Web­site: http://​seat​tle​times​.nwsource​.com/ Author: Jonathan Martin

25eb428897TITLE2.gif 150x112 Legalizing Marijuana Could Bring Windfall To State

Here is the orig­i­nal post:
Legal­iz­ing Mar­i­juana Could Bring Wind­fall To State

Related Posts

Share This

Leave a Comment