Legislators are looking to collect more than $730 million in marijuana tax revenue over the next two budget years. That’s not enough to cover the additional $74 million needed to address the state’s school funding deficit. However, clarification from the federal government could open the cannabis banking floodgates and relieve the funding gap.
Lawmakers, along with incoming Washington State Treasurer Duane Davidson, could push for updated federal guidelines. Washington could follow suit after California and Illinois state treasurers made direct appeals to the current administration. With cannabis banking legal at the federal level, dispensaries would be able to go cashless. Dispensary owners are in a precarious position, and without the ability to deposit funds or take credit cards, states feel the pinch right along side the cannabusinesses. Revenues to the states from cannabis sales would jump sharply and assist or relieve many states of their budget quandaries. The federal government would also cash in, taking in an estimated $7.5 billion in tax revenues.
Currently, twenty-six states have legalized marijuana sales yet without an adjustment to the federal banking guidelines, more than half the country has yet to realize the full tax revenue potential earned by the cannabis industry.
This affects state funding directly, and often it is the school budgets hit hardest. We will continue to follow the progress of Washington state legislators as they scramble to cover the $75 million needed for school funding.