Wash. tries to collect more in medical pot taxes

SEATTLE (AP) — The state is trying to collect more taxes from Washington’s unregulated medical marijuana system, even as lawmakers are considering whether to completely overhaul it.

The Department of Revenue said Tuesday it plans to send letters later this week to several hundred medical marijuana businesses, including dispensaries and collective gardens, that officials say should be registered and paying taxes. It’s asking the businesses to comply by Jan. 24 and says some might owe back taxes.

Some dispensaries already pay business-and-occupation and sales taxes. Some lawyers have argued among other reasons that the businesses don’t have to because they believe the medical authorizations are equivalent to prescription medications, which aren’t taxed.

Sales of heavily taxed recreational marijuana are due to begin in late spring. Lawmakers are considering whether to require medical marijuana to be sold at recreational stores, where it would be subject to similar tax rates.

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