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Today's Washington State Cannabis Growers Face Challenges

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Ten years ago this month, Washington state residents voted to legalize marijuana for adult use. As the state's recreational marijuana industry has grown and matured over the past decade, some of the major issues now include: lack of access to capital, and the state's residency requirements that discourage outside investment. Low wholesale prices, and as with other long-running adult-use cannabis markets such as Oregon and Colorado, artisans and small growers face an oversupplied cannabis flower market as growers continue to pour into the market. The state imposes a 37 percent excise tax on adult-use marijuana, by far the highest such tax in the United States. The average tax rate, which includes excise taxes as well as state and local sales taxes, totals 46.2 percent, pushing some consumers into the illegal market. Minority cannabis entrepreneurs have limited opportunities for social equity. 2022 MJBiz Factbook estimates that adult cannabis product sales in Washington state retail stores will be $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion this year and $2.3 billion to $2.5 billion by 2026.

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