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In November 2012, Washington State voters passed Initiative 502 (I-502), which legalized limited possession, private use, and commercial sales of cannabis for adults. In this report, we describe the evolution of cannabis-related policy, revenues, and expenditures over the past decade.
We first describe the implementation of I-502 and summarize major cannabis-related policy milestones through the fiscal year 2022. In addition, we detail aspects of the Washington cannabis market structure and regulatory rules and compare components of non-medical cannabis (NMC) legalization nationwide. Second, we describe cannabis-related sales, excise tax revenues, and spending of those revenues over the last decade. In fiscal year 2022, cannabis retailers sold nearly $1.4 billion in cannabis products, and just over half a billion dollars were generated in excise tax revenues. Most of these revenues are transferred to the general fund and state basic health plan trust, and less than 20% goes to state agencies for prevention, healthcare, research, and cannabis industry oversight. Since fiscal year 2016, this distribution of expenditures has not significantly changed, although the total dollar amount of cannabis-related revenue and expenditure has nearly tripled.