Washington: Second Senate Committee Votes to Make Medical Marijuana Tax Free

A second Senate committee in Washington State has voted to pass legislation removing the 37% marijuana excise tax for qualified patients.

House Bill 1453 was given approval today by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, a week after it was passed by the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee in a unanimous vote. The measure was approved through the full House of Representatives 85 to 12 earlier this month.

The measure 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.”

Under current law medical marijuana patients are exempt from the state’s sales tax, but they are not exempt from the 37% excise tax established under the 2012 law.

Of the 24 states that have legalized recreational marijuana, none have a higher marijuana excise tax than Washington’s 37%. Given the state’s legislature passed a law in 2014 melding the recreational and medical marijuana markets into one, many medical marijuana patients saw instant price increases as there medicine was no longer tax free.

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.

If the measure is passed by the Senate and signed into law (or allowed to become law without a signature) by Governor Inslee, it will take effect 90 days after adjournment of the legislative session.

Thank you for reading The Marijuana Herald! You can sign up for our weekly newsletter at the form below, and you can find more news stories by clicking here.