Senate votes against tax breaks for marijuana products, growers

Staff writerMarch 4, 2014 

A vendor points out the variety of marijuana for sale at the grand opening of the Seattle location of the Northwest Cannabis Market, for sales of medical marijuana products, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013. Voters in Washington state last fall passed Initiative 502, which legalizes the recreational possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and calls for the creation of state-licensed pot growers, processors and retail stores.

AP PHOTO/ELAINE THOMPSON

It may be the least controversial tax bill of the 2014 legislative session -- clarifying that marijuana growers and pot products don't qualify for agricultural tax breaks.

State senators unanimously voted 47-0 Tuesday to exclude marijuana growers from tax preferences geared toward farmers and agricultural products.

Very few comments were made about Senate 6505 when it was on the Senate floor Tuesday. Sen. Jim Hargrove, the bill's sponsor, said the legislation aims to provide clarity regarding tax rates for the state's new legal marijuana industry.

Under the bill, marijuana growers would be excluded from eight business and occupation tax preferences, 16 sales tax preferences, four other excise tax preferences and four property tax preferences.

Not extending the agricultural tax breaks to marijuana products and growers will save the state about $2.7 million per year, according to an estimate from the state Department of Revenue.

The bill now heads to the state House for consideration. Because the legislation relates to taxation, it is not subject to the same legislative deadlines as other bills.

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