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PI.com: In Marijuana News

By Josh Feit December 14, 2010

The PI.com is on the pot beat today.  Chris Grygiel writes about an AP scoop that the state, "looking for money any place they can find it," is going to start collecting sales tax from medical marijuana dispensaries.

Neither Grygiel nor the AP report how much money the state estimates it'll get, though. That's because, as we found out when we called, the state doesn't know. The state doesn't even know how many dispensaries there are, Department of Revenue spokesman Mike Gowrylow says.

He explained to us that a dispensary that had been paying sales tax complained to the department that its competitors were not. The DOR than did some online research trying to find marijuana dispensers (who hasn't spent a Saturday night doing that?), and came up with 85 possible ones. ("The Dept. of Licensing also did a search of businesses that had cannabis, marijuana, herbal, etc. in their names," Gowrylow says.)

Gowrylow says some dispensaries may believe that medical marijuana is exempt from sales tax like prescription drugs, but it is not.

Here's the letter they sent out on Friday, which explains that:
Medical marijuana is not exempt from sales tax  Sales of medical marijuana are not eligible for the retail sales tax exemption provided for prescription drugs. To be exempt from retail sales tax, drugs must be prescribed as authorized by the laws of this state. Marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance and cannot be prescribed under either federal or state law in Washington.

Additionally, Joel Connelly's got a story on teenage pot smoking—according to a new report, they smoke the wacky tobacky more than the regular tobacky.
The 2010 "Monitoring the Future" report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that anti-tobacco campaigns are working in the schools. But efforts to legalize and decriminalize marijuana have apparently had an impact as well.

Only 19.2 percent of 12th graders used cigarettes in the past month, according to the study, but 21.4 percent reported smoking pot.
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