Pubdate: Tue, 12 Apr 2016
Source: Herald, The (Everett, WA)
Copyright: 2016 Associated Press


SPOKANE (AP) - The amount of money spent on legal marijuana sales in 
Spokane County last year was larger than the retail sales of wine, 
bread or milk.

That's according to sales numbers from the Washington Liquor and 
Cannabis Board and a survey of household expenses conducted by the 
U.S. Census Bureau.

Monthly sales of pot topped $5 million in Spokane County for the 
first time in March, which is on track to top receipts at area 
bookstores, museums and live music venues, according to figures 
released by the Washington Department of Revenue.

The Spokesman-Review reported that Spokane County marijuana retailers 
reported just over $43 million in sales in 2015, according to the 
state Liquor and Cannabis Board. That's an average of $225.64 per household.

By comparison, retail beer sales were $232.70 per Spokane County 
household last year, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey 
administered by the Census Bureau. The average household spent 
$154.85 on wine, $155.37 on milk and $109.71 on bread in 2015.

Not all marijuana sold in Spokane County is consumed by county 
residents. State law allows the 17 state-licensed pot shops in the 
area to sell to anyone older than 21, and many customers drive there 
from Idaho and Montana.

Statewide, the Liquor and Cannabis Board tracks marijuana sales of 
$2.8 million a day.

"That seems pretty robust," said Brian Smith, spokesman for the 
Liquor and Cannabis Board.

For the third quarter of 2015, July through September, marijuana 
sales in Spokane County reached $12.4 million. That's slightly less 
than bookstore revenue of $12.6 million and is below the $15.8 
million generated from arts, entertainment and recreation during that 
period, the most recent for which the comparative data are available.

Marijuana sales in the county rose in the first quarter of 2016 to 
$14.5 million.

Total revenues are likely to continue to increase, as medical 
marijuana dispensaries will come under Liquor and Cannabis Board 
control in July.

Because state laws were rewritten last year to enable tax revenue 
sharing with local governments based on sales, more revenue means 
more money for cities and counties. Spokane County can expect to 
receive $442,917 from the state in excise taxes on marijuana this year.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom