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July pot sales end hot streak

Marijuana sales in Spokane County dipped in July, the first drop in month-to-month retail receipts since the drug became legal.

The county’s 15 shops sold $3.8 million worth of marijuana products last month, according to reports on file with the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board. That total was less than June’s tally of $4.1 million in retail sales and ended a yearlong stretch during which the industry grew unabated.

Click here to see a chart of Spokane County marijuana sales, 2014 - 2015

Brian Smith, spokesman for the newly rebranded Liquor and Cannabis Board, said the numbers represented a “shake-up” brought about by a new tax structure. Sweeping marijuana legislation that took hold last month imposes a 37 percent excise tax at the point of retail store purchases, rather than the three-tiered 25 percent tax that had previously been imposed on producers, processors and retailers.

“Whatever the July numbers are will likely be the new norm moving forward,” Smith said.

Retailers took a hit, but Spokane County growers and processors reported continued growth in July ahead of an anticipated major outdoor harvest that will begin this fall. Grow Op Farms, a Spokane Valley processor, reported $970,000 in revenue last month, the largest money maker in an industry that accumulated $6.7 million in July sales.

Based on the $3.8 million sales figure reported by the Liquor and Cannabis Board, and the 37 percent excise tax, the state collected roughly $1.4 million in tax revenue from the sale of marijuana in Spokane County alone last month.


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