Pubdate: Tue, 19 Feb 2013
Source: Seattle Times (WA)
Copyright: 2013 The Associated Press
Author: Rachel La Corte, Associated Press


OLYMPIA (AP) - A House committee held a public hearing Monday on a 
bill to tax medical-marijuana dispensaries, an effort to undermine 
any black market when the sale of state-taxed recreational marijuana 
starts at the end of this year.

The measure would hit dispensaries with a tax equal to 25 percent of 
their sales of cannabis and cannabis-infused products.

The bill's sponsors have said they're trying to avoid a dual market - 
one taxed, one not - as the state moves toward a regulated system for 
the fledgling marijuana industry created by Initiative 502.

Voters in November approved the initiative that allows adults over 21 
to have up to an ounce of pot.

The state is due to start issuing licenses to marijuana growers, 
processors and retail stores, with the marijuana taxed 25 percent at 
each stage.

The state Liquor Control Board is developing rules for the new 
industry, possibly including such measures as digital tracking of 
inventory to prevent diversion to the black market. Sales are to 
begin late this year.

The bill is one of several marijuana-related measures pending in Olympia.

One would allow people with a misdemeanor pot conviction to have 
their record cleared, and another would protect medicalmarijuana 
patients from arrest.

Medical-marijuana patients could still grow their own 15 plants or 
designate someone else to grow for them, and true community gardens 
of up to 45 plants and 10 patients would still be allowed.

Prescription medications aren't taxed in Washington, and those in the 
medical-marijuana community have argued that because medical 
marijuana requires a doctor's authorization, it should fall into that category.
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