Washington’s retail cannabis industry had a bumpy launch in July. New businesses launched to much fanfare, but faced statewide product shortages and rules prohibiting imports. A new report, however, suggests the fledgling industry is soaring.
Washington’s Economic and Revenue Forecast Council issued their November forecast Wednesday. The report says tax receipts from the state’s marijuana industry will be more than 67 percent higher through 2015 than previously estimated. It also predicts nearly $700 million in tax revenue from cannabis businesses in the first four-and-a-half years of legalization.
New businesses entering the state’s marijuana industry — producers, processors and retailers — factored into the revised projections. According to the November report, the number of cannabis establishments increased from 42 in July, when sales began, to 171 by the end of October.
The council released a report in September estimating $25.5 million in tax revenue for the current term ending in 2015. The figure includes marijuana excise tax and license fees, state sales tax and business taxes paid by marijuana producers, processors and retailers. The new report estimates $42.7 million in revenue by the end of next year, a $17.2 million increase from two months ago.
The report measures time in two-year budget periods; 2013-15, 2015-17 and 2017-19. Projections for each period were revised up.
Washington’s projected tax revenue through 2019 now stands at a cool $694.2 million.