WA House Votes 85 to 12 to Exempt Medical Marijuana Patients From 37% Excise Tax

Legislation “providing a tax exemption for medical cannabis patients” has been approved by Washington’s full House of Representatives.

House Bill 1453, filed by State Representative Sharon Wylie, was recently given approval by the House in a 85 to 12 vote. Today the measure was read for the first time in the Senate and assigned to the Labor and Commerce Committee.

The proposed law “Provides a permanent tax exemption from the 37 percent cannabis excise tax for qualifying patients and designated providers with a recognition card on purchases of cannabis products that are labeled as Department of Health (DOH)-compliant product and tested in accordance with the DOH’s rules.”

Washington legalized marijuana in 2012, years after the state legalized medical marijuana. Although medical marijuana patients are exempt from the state’s sales tax, they are not exempt from the 37% excise tax established under the 2012 law.

Although 22 other states have legalized marijuana since Washington and Colorado did it in 2012, none have established a marijuana tax higher than Washington’s 37%.

House Bill 1453 states that:

Each seller making exempt sales must maintain information establishing eligibility for the exemption in the form and manner required by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB). The LCB must provide a separate tax reporting line on the excise tax form for exemption amounts claimed. The tax preference is exempt from the 10-year expiration date for new tax preferences and the requirement to include a tax preference performance statement.

The bill would take effect 90 days after adjournment of the legislative session.

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