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Washington pot sales reach nearly $3.8M in first month, expected to bring in over $1M in taxes

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SEATTLE - During the first month of legal marijuana sales in Washington state, stores sold just under $3.8 million, which is expected to bring in more than $1 million in state taxes, the state reported on Friday.

Although licenses have been issued for about 40 stores, only 18 were selling pot in July, and 16 of them have reported sales so far in August.

"It's off to a healthy start, considering that the system isn't fully up and running yet," said Brian Smith, a spokesman for the Washington Liquor Control Board.

During the first month of retail marijuana sales in Colorado, the state collected closer to $2 million in excise and sales taxes.

Like Colorado, Washington will tax marijuana in two ways: sales taxes and excise taxes.

Excise taxes are paid at three different points in the process: When the grower transfers the marijuana to the processor, when the processor transfers it to the store and when the retailer sells it to the consumer. The tax rate at all three points is 25 per cent.

The Legislature is not banking on any marijuana revenue until the next fiscal year begins in July 2015. They have forecast tax collections totalling $122 million in the next two-year state budget cycle.

The state of Colorado has collected $29.8 million in all marijuana taxes, fees and licenses since recreational sales became legal in January. That number includes medical marijuana taxes.

About $24.7 million worth of recreational pot was sold in June in Colorado, the state reported Friday. Colorado's July tax collections have not yet been reported.

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