Marijuana

Marijuana sales reach new high after state closes medical shops

Karry Johnson, manager of 2020 Solutions on Iron Street, shows customers a variety of marijuana flowers on Wednesday, July 6, 2016 in Bellingham. 2020 Solution is the top seller in Whatcom County, according to 502data.com.
Karry Johnson, manager of 2020 Solutions on Iron Street, shows customers a variety of marijuana flowers on Wednesday, July 6, 2016 in Bellingham. 2020 Solution is the top seller in Whatcom County, according to 502data.com. eabell@bhamherald.com

Marijuana sales in Washington state have reached a record $1 billion since the state entered the pot business, thanks to a sharp jump last month when the state closed medical dispensaries.

The state took in $23.5 million in excise taxes in July, also a new high. That’s up from $20 million in June, according to the marijuana data website 502data.com of Mount Vernon – named after Initiative 502, the measure approved by voters in 2012 that essentially created the legal marijuana industry here.

As of July 1, Washington merged medical marijuana with the state’s regulated recreational pot industry. Dispensaries not approved by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board to sell medical marijuana were required to close last month.

The resulting bump in sales put stores statewide on pace to nearly double their 2015 revenue. Through the first seven months of 2016, retail sales of marijuana were more than $347 million statewide. By comparison, sales totaled $322 million for all of 2015.

Combined with revenue from processors and producers – the companies that supply your neighborhood pot shop – total sales in Washington now exceed $1 billion since 2014. That has resulted in $273 million in excise taxes to the state in those two years.

Prior to July 2015, all producers, processors and retailers paid 25 percent of their marijuana sales revenue as excise tax to the Liquor and Cannabis Board. Since then, only retailers pay the 37 percent excise tax.

In Whatcom County, retail marijuana sales have totaled nearly $25.6 million since the stores became legal in 2014 – bringing in $10.1 million in state excise taxes.

In July alone, consumers here bought nearly $2.9 million worth of pot and pot products.

Whatcom County was among the state leaders in marijuana processing, with sales of nearly $1.2 million – sixth best in the state. The county has 52 producer/processors.

These five Whatcom County retail stores have paid more than $1 million in excise taxes through July 2016:

Retailer

Total sales

Tax paid

2020 Solutions

$5,303,341

$1,905,284

Green Leaf

$3,856,989

$1,387,602

Cascade Herb Company

$3,570,596

$1,292,386

2020 Solutions On The Guide

$3,438,764

$1,245,837

Top Shelf Cannabis

$2,945,540

$1,044,573

Four Whatcom County producer/processors have topped $1 million in sales through July 2016:

Producer/processor

City

Total sales

Verdelux Chocolates

Bellingham

$1,551,765

Subx

Ferndale

$1,544,459

Ce Group

Bellingham

$1,507,196

Northwest Organic Nursery

Everson

$1,503,845

Source: 502data.com

Jim Donaldson: 360-715-2288

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