Standardized Tax Rates for all Marijuana

Rep. Reuven Carlyle and I introduced legislation today to standardize state tax rates across medical and non-medical marijuana. The medical market would now look like the setup initiative 502 put in place for recreational use. The press release we issued is below. My concern is that if we have an identical product being sold with two different tax schemes we are likely to have significant leakage of recreational use into the medical channel. This will create a black market and put us at serious risk of federal intervention.

I expect this to be controversial, but I think it’s important to have an orderly market with no diversion.

Legislative news from Rep. Ross Hunter and Rep. Reuven Carlyle

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Leading Democrats propose standardized tax rates for all marijuana

Two leading House Democrats introduced legislation today that would standardize tax rates for all sales of marijuana.

Sponsored by Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48) and House Finance Committee Chair Reuven Carlyle (D-36), HB 1789 would create a consistent regulatory scheme for marijuana transactions.

“A responsible regulatory system requires that we have consistent, transparent oversight and tracking mechanisms, and that taxes be applied evenly,” said Rep. Hunter, “or we will create a lucrative black market.”

Washington voters approved recreational cannabis use last November with Initiative 502.

“We’re very concerned that having two systems, one almost completely without oversight, would make it difficult to win federal approval for overall marijuana legalization,” said Rep. Carlyle.  “It will distort the market and drive non-medical use inappropriately into the medical channel.”

The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee will hear HB 1789 this Friday, February, 15th at their 1:30 PM meeting.


For interviews or more information:

Rep. Ross Hunter 360-786-7936 or

Staff: Kristen Mattern 360-786-7936 or