Marijuana Legalization Could Affect Medical Marijuana Patients - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Recreational Marijuana Legalization Could Affect Medical Marijuana Patients

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WASHINGTON STATE - Voters in Washington State legalized recreational marijuana last November, but it turns out that the decision could cost medical marijuana patients a lot of money.

Politicians were promised $530-million per year from taxing marijuana, but the actual revenue will likely be about half that for as long as medical marijuana remains unregulated, untaxed and a whole lot cheaper.

Medical marijuana has been legal since 1998 and because there's no registry, officials have no idea how many patients are out there.

Many lawmakers want to slap a 20% tax on medicinal weed.

 "People thought there were going to be laws surrounding it, and medical marijuana is an avenue to sidestep the laws and regulations and revenue," believes (R) Washington State Senator Ann Rivers.

 "It would force the price up so high, I'd either have to go back to pharmaceutical drugs, which I've found to be harmful to me, or I'd have to do it illegally," said medical marijuana patient John Worthington.

However, marijuana entrepreneurs say the newly-created market will be so big that a price premium won't matter.