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marijuana alcoholIt’s official: marijuana is more popular than alcohol in Washington state. Since the beginning of 2016, marijuana sales have been outpacing alcohol sales, according to purchase and tax records; in the first quarter, marijuana edged out hard alcohol by $19.1 million (that doesn’t include beer and wine). In the second quarter, it was $52.3 million more, and the third-quarter difference will be released in early 2017 – it’s expected to be even higher.

Why is Marijuana Outselling Hard Alcohol?

I don’t know for sure, but I’m thinking it’s because of the following three reasons:

  1. Marijuana doesn’t make you puke (usually)
  2. Marijuana doesn’t make you forget not to drive
  3. Marijuana tastes a hell of a lot better
  4. Marijuana is just more hip right now

Those are just my thoughts, but I welcome your opinions on why marijuana is outselling hard alcohol in Washington state. (No, really.)

Washington State’s Marijuana Laws

washington marijuana

In Washington state, both medical and recreational cannabis are legal, but public consumption and possession of over an ounce of weed will get you a fine if you’re waving it around in front of the local police department. Sale or distribution to a minor is still a felony and could result in five years of prison and a $10,000 fine. There is no penalty for 72 ounces or less of liquid marijuana-infused products or 16 ounces or less of solid marijuana-infused product, and you’d have to have 40 grams of hash or concentrates to be penalized in Washington. You can’t smoke pot or consume it while driving, and if you have it in the car you’ve got to keep it in the trunk or glove compartment while driving. You also can’t grow your own pot in Washington, which may explain the $100 million surge to $398.2 million in marijuana sales that just happened there. Another explanation may be that the state shut down all medical marijuana dispensaries and required that all marijuana be sold out of recreational marijuana dispensaries instead.

Washington’s Legal Competition with the Black Market

Black market cannabis sales are still a problem for many states that haven’t legalized, but in Washington state, the Washington CannaBusiness Association noted that revenues are now competitive with past black market prices, meaning that legal sales are starting to eradicate the marijuana black market in the state. Washington state’s taxes are the highest in the nation on both hard liquor and marijuana, which is driving public and state approval of legalization and dispensaries – so the 20.5% tax on spirits bought and the 13.7% tax on drinks in restaurants and bars may also be driving the drop in hard liquor purchases. The Price of Weed states that an ounce of high quality weed in Washington state is about $233.06, which puts it at about $30 per eighth – not bad at all, especially considering the lack of hangover you might have the next day.

Although weed prices fell quite a bit in Washington last January, they seem to have leveled out over the course of the year, and if this year’s sales are any indication, falling prices will not signify falling sales or profit loss for a still mighty state industry.

In Washington state, both medical and recreational cannabis are legal, but public consumption and possession of over an ounce of weed will get you a fine if you’re waving it around in front of the local police department. Sale or distribution to a minor is still a felony and could result in five years of prison and a $10,000 fine. There is no penalty for 72 ounces or less of liquid marijuana-infused products or 16 ounces or less of solid marijuana-infused product, and you’d have to have 40 grams of hash or concentrates to be penalized in Washington. You can’t smoke pot or consume it while driving, and if you have it in the car you’ve got to keep it in the trunk or glove compartment while driving. You also can’t grow your own pot in Washington, which may explain the $100 million surge to $398.2 million in marijuana sales that just happened there. Another explanation may be that the state shut down all medical marijuana dispensaries and required that all marijuana be sold out of recreational marijuana dispensaries instead.

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