Washington Sold $3.8 Million in Recreational Weed Last Month

Despite shortages, the state took in an estimated $1 million in tax revenue.

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Washington sold $3.8 million worth of marijuana during its first month of recreational pot sales, netting the state an estimated $1 million in tax revenue, according to the state. That's especially impressive considering how low supply was in the state — Seattle's only dispensary ran out of product in three days.

"It's off to a healthy start, considering that the system isn't fully up and running yet," Brian Smith, a spokesman for the Washington Liquor Control Board, told the Associated Press.

That's kind of an understatement. As we explained last month, Washington didn't give its illegal plants a path to citizenship, meaning growers had to start from scratch and many plants weren't ready. And because of the way licenses were given out, conservative rural areas sometimes had several dispensaries while Seattle just had one. Overall, 40 stores were given licenses, but only 18 were selling.

The state hopes to make $122 million in tax revenue over the next two years. Since January, Colorado has collected about $34.9 million in taxes from both recreational and medical marijuana. 

While Colorado and Washington have similar models, Washington imposes a high 25 percent tax on each step of the marijuana train (from grower to processor to seller), while Colorado's excise tax is only 15 percent. At the same time, Colorado had less of a shortage problem, which is why it made $2.1 million in taxes from $14 million worth of first month sales.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.