Washington House readies its version of pot market overhaul

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SEATTLE — With the state Senate passing a bill to regulate medical marijuana, Washington’s House of Representatives is preparing its version of a pot-market overhaul.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Reuven Carlyle aims to make the state’s legal marijuana stores more competitive with the black market. The Seattle Democrat’s proposal calls for eliminating the three-tier tax structure voters approved in Initiative 502 and replacing it with a single excise tax of 30 percent at the point of sale.

Authorized medical marijuana patients would be exempt from paying the regular state sales tax, the state would share pot revenue with cities and counties that allow pot sales, and some money would be directed to cracking down on illegal grows.

The House Finance Committee reviews the proposal Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, the Senate’s version faces its first hearing in the House on Thursday.