- Politics and Social Issues
Legalization of Marijuana in Washington State Part III: Dedicated Marijuana Fund
On November 6, 2012, marijuana was legalized in Washington State and Colorado. It was the passing of initiative 502. Part One of this series was about what it meant to be licensed and what the Liquor Control Board would be in charge of figuring out by December 1, 2013 to be put into play by December 6, 2013. Part two was mostly about how information would be gone about being displayed as well as advertising for retailers. It also went into the law as it was and it's amendments, in regards to scheduled drugs. Part three will be about where the funds go that will be made with this initiative. Marijuana will be taxed at a rate of 25% at every level. This means the growers are taxed 25%. The processors are taxed 25%, the retailers are taxed 25% and thus the customers are taxed 25% as well. In the last part that was explained, the initiative that the Liquor Control Board of Washington State would be creating pricing regulations for retailers, processors, and producers of marijuana, which allowed them to make enough money that fees and taxes could be paid, but low enough that they would still under cut the black market. Please see my opinion piece for more information on the black market and what it will take for their goal to be achieved.
What do you think about the distribution of funds?
Where's this all going?
The beautify of this initiative passing is that it will generate a lot of money for our state. But it's always worrying to see where and how the money from a new means of generation will be spent. With this initiative comes a Dedicated Marijuana Fund. This is made up of all the taxing, fees, forfeitures, penalties or whatever other moneys which come directly from this initiative.
As mentioned before, each transaction on each level of purchase of marijuana or marijuana infused goods will be taxed at 25%. However, this will constantly be under review by the State Liquor Control Board. The high tax has two contradicting purposes:
- To be high enough to discourage the use of marijuana
- To undercut the pricing on the black market
The moneys collected will be dispersed every three months as follows:
- $125,000 will go to DSHS (Department of Social and Healthy Services). With this they will design a healthy youth survey. This will be designed to gather data in regards to youth performance in school, what percentage of youth are being introduced to a substance, how it effects or if it effects antisocial behavior, their attitude toward substances, rebelliousness and so on. This survey will be conducted every two
- $50,000 will go to DSHS
- $5,000 will go to the University of Washington, which will maintain and update scientifically accurate medicinal information information on the health risks of the use of marijuana.
- No more than $1.25 million will go toward the Liquor Control Board of Washington State
- 15% of the funds remaining will go toward DSHS again, though this time toward programs to prevent substance abuse and substance dependance among middle and high school kids. Of this at least 85% must go towards evidence based, cost-effective programs which produce accurate and measurable results. In other words, cannot be tainted in a way which will lead to one argument or another.
The other 15% of this will go toward research-based practices which are effective. This will be decided annually by the secretary of DSHS, who will meet with the University of Washington to discuss their findings.
- 10% of the funds remaining will go toward the Department of Health so that they may create public health programs which educate about marijuana.
This will include a marijuana used hotline, grant programs to health groups which provide intervention strategies toward the usage of marijuana in the youth, media based education advertisement about marijuana which targets youth and adults - but may only used scientifically accurate information.
- 0.6% of the funds remaining will to toward the University of Washington as well as 0.4% of said funds will go to Washington State University for the study of short and long term effects on marijuana. This will also include the search for new ways to measure intoxication.
- 50% of the remaining funds will go to the Basic Health Plan Trust acco
- 5% of the remaining funds will go to the Washington State Health Care authorities to be dispersed throughout the state to other community health services which provide dental, primary, migrant, and maternity health care services.
- 0.3% of the remaining fund will go to the superintendent of Public Instruction, which will be used to fund grants to bridge-building programs.
- Initiative 502
This is the re-write of the marijuana law which has now passed in Washington state
How Long Will This Continue?
The details are still being ironed out. However, by December 1, 2013, the Washington State Liquor Board should have all the fine details which do not diminish the spirit of this act fine tuned.
The distribution of funds as the "rules" as they stand are not permanent. This is essentially a trial period to see what works best. There will be an evaluation by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy which will be completed by September 1, 2015, and their final report equipped with recommendations will be submitted by September 1, 2017.
These reports will consider public health (health costs associated with criminal prohibition of marijuana - including lack of quality control, the impact of increased investment on research,education, prevention and interventions), Public safety in relation to marijuana, youth and adult rates of marijuana use (including marijuana substance abuse, dependence, or related disorders), economic impact in private and public sectors (Including job creation, workplace safety, and revenues), taxes that have been generated for state and local budgets, criminal justice impacts (this means use of public services such as the police equipment, judges, public defenders, etc; short and long consequences of involvement in the criminal justice system for persons accused of crimes involving marijuana, including the impact on their families) and state and local administrative costs and revenues.
Continue to Part IV: Legalization of Marijuana Part IV: DUI of Marijuana