Medical Marijuana A Challenge For Legal Pot States – Abc News

They’re looking at reining in their medical systems and fixing the big tax differential between medical and recreational weed without harming patients. And in some cases, they are considering cracking down on the proliferating black market. “How can you have two parallel systems, one that’s regulated, paying taxes, playing by the rules, and the other that’s not doing any of those things?” said Rick Garza of the Washington Liquor Control Board, which oversees recreational pot. The difficulty of reconciling medical marijuana with taxed recreational pot offers a cautionary tale for states that might join Washington and Colorado in regulating the adult use of the drug. While legalization campaigns have focused on the myriad ills of prohibition, including racial discrepancies in who gets busted for weed, the promise of additional tax revenues in tight budget times was in no small part of the appeal. Weed sales have so far brought in some revenue, though less than officials might have hoped. Colorado brought in more than $60 million in taxes, licenses and fees for recreational and medical marijuana combined through October of this year, and more than half of pot sold was of the lesser-taxed medical variety. In Washington, where supply problems and slow licensing hampered the industry after sales began in July, the state collected about $15 million in taxes this year. The latest states to legalize marijuana ? Oregon and Alaska ? have different concerns, but officials there are nevertheless paying attention to Colorado and Washington as they work on rules for their own industry.
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