Washington State Eliminates Burdensome 37% Tax on Medical Marijuana

In a significant move for medical cannabis patients in Washington, state lawmakers have passed a bill that exempts them and their designated providers from the 37% excise tax imposed on marijuana sales.

The passage of House Bill 1453 abolishes what was considered one of the highest tax rates levied on medical marijuana products nationwide. The measure aims to alleviate the financial burden on patients who rely on cannabis for treating chronic conditions like pain, epilepsy, and PTSD.

Previously, medical marijuana users faced the same 37% excise tax as recreational consumers, in addition to general state and local sales taxes. This taxation structure drew criticism for unfairly penalizing those using cannabis as a necessary medicine rather than a recreational substance.

Seattle-based law firm Harris Sliwoski applauded the bill’s approval, noting that the excessive taxation discriminated against medical cannabis patients and undermined harm reduction principles underlying legalization policies.

“Medical cannabis is often the only effective treatment that allows [patients] to function and improve their quality of life,” the firm stated. Yet, the financial strain of taxes compounded existing accessibility challenges, potentially forcing patients to reduce dosages, switch to less effective products, or turn to unregulated sources.

The new legislation provides tax relief by exempting qualifying patients and designated providers from the 37% cannabis excise tax on purchases of Department of Health-compliant, tested products. Retailers must maintain eligibility records for exempt sales.

With Governor Jay Inslee’s anticipated signature, the bill will take effect 90 days after the current legislative session adjourns. This move aligns Washington’s tax policies with the understanding that medical cannabis serves as a legitimate therapeutic option deserving of distinct treatment from recreational use.

By eliminating the burdensome 37% tax, Washington has taken a crucial step toward improving access and affordability for its medical marijuana patient community. The reform acknowledges the vital role cannabis can play in managing debilitating conditions and aims to reduce financial barriers to effective treatment.


  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment