Kitsap pot businesses grossed $6M in first year

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Rachel Seymour photo

One year ago Wednesday, a shop in Bellingham sold the first bag of legal marijuana in Washington state.

The sale marked a milestone for Kitsap County too: That first bag of pot was grown Bremerton. 

In the year that followed, Washington recreational marijuana businesses recorded more than $250 million in gross sales, generating $62 million for the state in excise taxes. Add in other state and local taxes and the total tax bill topped $70 million.

Kitsap marijuana retailers, growers and processors grossed about $5.75 million, generating $1.44 million in excise tax, according to statistics made available by the Liquor Control Board. Nearly $5 million of gross revenue came from the retail side.

Kitsap’s busiest marijuana shop made $430,000 in sales in June alone.

The county can expect much higher sales totals in the coming year.

Ten Kitsap marijuana enterprises — four shops and six producer/processors — recorded sales between July 2014 and the end of June. As of this week the county had 16 licensed pot businesses, with several more in the works.

Relaxed taxes could also lure more customers to recreational shops.

During the first year of sales, marijuana was taxed 25 percent when sold between a producer and processor, another 25 percent when sold to the retailer, and a final 25 percent when sold to the consumer, resulting in an excise tax of up to 75 percent.

A law enacted this summer will reduce the overall tax to 37 percent.

And that’s not the only sweeping change ahead for the fledgling industry. At the direction of the Legislature, the state will essentially dismantle the existing medical marijuana system over the next year, and roll what’s left into the recreational system.

The expected closure of medical dispensaries will reduce competition for the licensed shops and drive up recreational pot sales.

Here’s a graphical look at the first year of marijuana sales in Kitsap:

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