Washington Wants You to Stop Paying Cannabis Taxes in Cash. Good Luck With That.

Published on July 14, 2016 · Last updated July 28, 2020

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced several proposed rules on Thursday, and one of them caught us by surprise.

In a notice sent to stakeholders this afternoon, the LCB requested public input on a budget proviso requiring electronic payment for marijuana excise tax payments.

The proposal raised eyebrows for a number of reasons, most notably because of banking restrictions for marijuana businesses. Many banks are unwilling to work with cannabis businesses, so companies in the industry are often forced to deal almost exclusively in cash. Large quantities of cash.

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Leafly reached out to LCB spokesman Mikhail Carpenter for clarification on the new electronic pay requirement and what it could mean for Washington cannabis businesses.

“We’re not demanding that people use electronic payment,” Carpenter said. “We’re asking that they pay using a method other than cash. We’re trying to reduce the amount of cash that comes into the building.”

“Honestly, 80 percent of the people who are paying their excise tax are [already] paying in a means other than cash,” Carpenter added. An emergency rule took effect more than a month ago, he said, and the new notice is to both inform stakeholders and seek public input before formalizing the rule.

When we asked for the reasoning why the WSLCB chose to request payment methods other than cash, Carpenter’s answer was telling in its simplicity.


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Lisa Rough
Lisa Rough
Lisa is a former associate editor at Leafly, where she specialized in legislative cannabis policy and industry topics.
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