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As marijuana businesses expand in Washington State, a bill being debated in Olympia could prompt the industry to grow even more.
Producers, processors and retail shop owners are closely watching HB 2136, which would rework some of the current regulations and change the tax structure. Some marijuana businesses say it's nearly impossible to make any money under the current tax structure.
"We've learned a lot since I-502 passed," says Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), the bill's primary sponsor. "This is an update, and a modernization of the current initiative."
Right now, marijuana laws apply a 25 percent excise tax on each level of the system: producer to a processor, processor to a retailer, and retailer to the customer. In addition, B&O taxes on the production and local retail sales taxes apply.
For those who operate as a producer and a processor, a common business model, they're hit with three taxes.
HB 2136 would collapse the tax burden, into one, 37 percent excise tax.
Large scale producer/processors, like OMG Sykes in Snohomish County, say simplifying the tax structure will allow businesses to more easily operate, and make money.
"With where the prices are in the market, it's very tough to compete," said John Knutsen, co-owner of OMG Sykes, one of the largest operations in the state.
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