By KREM.com | Published in NWCN.com
There is new confusion over medical marijuana. Sales are legal in Washington state, yet the law remains unclear. Now the state wants to collect on cannabis sales. But one Spokane marijuana dispensary owner calls the current attempt to collect those taxes unfair.
The Washington State Department of Revenue requires all marijuana dispensaries to collect sales tax. But some business owners say there is no enforcement. Some dispensaries pay and some don’t, which they claim makes it unequal.
The Department of Revenue says it does not matter if your product is illegal or legal. If you are providing a product, you are subject to sales tax. But the owner of Club Compassion argues she should not be taxed if other dispensaries are not following suit.
Rhonda Duncan opened her medical marijuana co-op just a year and a half ago. She claims to have all the licenses to make it legitimate. But because she’s cooperating with the state, she feels she’s having to fork over more money than other dispensaries.
“We’ve played by all the rules. We’re paying everything we can, so when’s enough enough?” said Duncan.
There are close to 130 dispensaries in the state. But the Department of Revenue says only one-third are actually complying with the law. In December, Duncan claims the agency sent her a letter saying she must charge patients sales tax. The Department of Revenue says they sent that letter to dispensaries statewide, but admit not all of them are tacking it onto their product.
“I have to add almost 10% sales tax to every donation that comes in here and that leaves me at a huge disadvantage,” said Duncan.
At her co-op, patients donate money for their marijuana. The Department of Revenue says they see this as money changing hands and consider it a sale. They say since you need an authorization, not a prescription, users are not exempt from the tax break. That is the reason they are enforcing the sales tax.
Duncan is still frustrated. She says she is being singled out for playing by the rules. At the end of the day though, she believes it comes down to the people and helping take away just a little bit of their pain.
The Department of Revenue says many dispensaries are in the learning phase, and are just starting to charge sales tax on their products. Duncan still argues there should be more enforcement to the law.