Washington State Legislation Could Only Share Marijuana Tax Mone - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington State Legislation Could Only Share Marijuana Tax Money With Areas That Allow Sale

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WASHINGTON -- It's been two years since voters legalized recreational marijuana in Washington. There are still a lot of details that may evolve, like how tax revenue from legal marijuana sales will be shared with cities and counties. Two new bills proposed in the state legislature could change that.


These new bills would share a large portion of tax revenue made off marijuana sales with local governments. But it would only share that money with the localities who don't have a ban or moratorium in place.


In our area marijuana businesses are banned almost everywhere except for a few places meaning most of our local governments wouldn't get a share of the money. 


We went to find out what local officials thought of the bills. I first sat down with Franklin County Commissioner Robert Koch where they currently have a moratorium on all pot businesses. 


"I haven't discussed with the other commissioners," Koch said. "But if they were to pass that and give the county some revenues, we might open it up for possibly growers."


Next we met with Benton County Commissioner Jerome Delvin. In Benton County they have no restrictions on marijuana growers or retailers but they do have tighter restrictions for businesses processing pot. 


"The official position of the county association and the city's association is that you should allow some kind of revenue sharing on the marijuana," Delvin said.


Finally we talked to the Mayor of Pasco Matt Watkins. Pasco was the first city to ban pot businesses and would not get a share of marijuana tax revenue. 


"It would make sense that jurisdictions that don't participate with marijuana shouldn't receive any revenue and we get that," Watkins said.


We also talked with Yakima City Manager Tony O'Rourke on the phone O'Rourke told us they oppose this legislation. They believe they should get a share of tax revenue to help offset costs incurred by the city such as DUI equipment and patrols to catch those driving high. Even if the City of Yakima has a ban on marijuana businesses. 


Any kind of final decision on these two bills could be up in the air. 

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