Kleiman: WA Medical Marijuana Competition May Undercut Taxes From Legal Pot


In what the Seattle Times calls “the strange new world of regulated, taxed recreational pot, medical marijuana has become a threat, a rival dealer, an enemy of the state.” State consultant Mark Kleiman of UCLA says competition from medical marijuana could undercut the recreational system the state is trying to create, siphoning away millions in potential taxes. The going price for pot in the largely unregulated, untaxed medical system is about $10 per gram. For the state's new highly taxed system, Kleiman said, that is a “very hard number to hit.” Unlike the recreational system, the medical market also serves minors. While the recreational system limits adults to possessing an ounce, the medical system allows patients to have a pound and a half. “I don't think the legal market (state officials) are imagining will be able to compete with the medical market if it remains as wide open as it currently is,” Kleiman said. Some state legislators want to slap a 25 percent tax on medical pot.

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