After initially stating that Washington’s marijuana sales dropped for the first time in July, the state released corrected figures Friday showing a significant increase for the month instead of a sales drop.
It turns out the industry’s sales and excise tax revenue together grew by more than $1.7 million in that time frame, according to the updated data from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board. The incorrect figures posted online Tuesday showed a drop of more than $554,000 in sales from June to July.
Agency spokesman Brian Smith said the error occurred as the state agency failed to account for an abrupt shift in the state’s marijuana tax system that went into effect on July 1. Earlier this summer, state lawmakers agreed to strike the 25 percent excise tax charged to growers and processors. They replaced the old tax structure with a new 37 percent tax for retailers at the point of sale.
In its revision of the July numbers, the agency also changed the way it reports sales activity to better reflect shelf prices in pot shops. Previously, it separated out sales and tax revenue into two columns in its daily sales reports. The new figures for July feature a third column that combines the two figures to more accurately reflect store prices, which are typically marked up to include the 37 percent excise tax.
“The numbers we’re seeing now are an apples-to-apples comparison,” Smith said. “We’re trying to make it easier to follow, because it’s a different structure now. We have to change how it’s reported.”
Looking at it that way, the industry brought in more than $59.2 million last month for a new all-time high in revenue. More than $11.6 million of that goes to the state’s general fund.
The revision also shows that five of Clark County’s seven pot shops put up their best sales figures to date in July. Main Street Marijuana and New Vansterdam, Vancouver’s two largest stores, ranked among the most profitable pot shops in the state.
Main Street outpaced all other stores in Washington with upwards of $2.8 million in sales. New Vansterdam ranked third with more than $1.8 million.