State lawmakers already looking to tap pot revenue

OLYMPIA — Washington state lawmakers are already starting to count on revenue from the legalization of marijuana, with the House approving a bill that would tap those tax dollars to expand early learning.

Before the House passed the bill on Wednesday night by a 59-38 margin, Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Shoreline, said she couldn’t think of a better use for the money. She argued that there was a clear nexus between helping children early in life and avoiding troubles later.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and federal officials have not yet decided whether to try and block implementation of the legalization measure. Washington is moving ahead with plans to develop a network of state-licensed growers, processors and retailers.

Republican Rep. Gary Alexander said he supports early education but would prefer to see the money come into the general fund and then be prioritized along with all other expenses. He suspected that early learning would be very strong on those priority lists but said it wasn’t right to dedicate one revenue stream to that plan.

“We don’t even know what that amount of money is,” Alexander said. “It’s too early to be dedicating something when we don’t really know what the source of (the) dollars is or how much we have to work with.”

If the legal marijuana system does get implemented, the state stands to bring in hefty new tax revenues. The product would be taxed heavily, with analysts estimating that a legal pot market could bring Washington hundreds of millions of dollars a year in new money.

Kagi’s proposal is expected to cost more than $200 million per year by the 2017-2019 biennium.

The bill now goes to the state Senate.

More in Local News

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

They chose the longshot candidate to fill a vacant seat

Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick will serve as representative for the 39th legislative district.

Definitely not Christmas in July for parched young trees

“I live in Washington. I should not have to water a Christmas tree,” says one grower. But they did.

Marysville babysitter faces jail time in infant’s death

Medical experts differed over whether it was head trauma or illness that caused the baby to die.

Whether cheers or jeers, DeVos appearance will rouse spirits

Trump’s secretary of education is coming to Bellevue to raise money for a pro-business think tank.

Superior Court judge admits DUI on freeway

Prosecutors recommend a “standard” penalty for Marybeth Dingledy, who “is terribly sorry.”

Self-defense or murder? Trial begins in shooting death

Explanations as to why a man was shot in the back on a Bothell cul-de-sac are starkly different.

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Alliance plans meeting to discuss future of the Everett Station

Key themes are economic development, parking, green space, safety, and transportation connections

Front Porch

EVENTS Chicken dinner time Seniors serve up a family-style chicken dinner from… Continue reading

Most Read