Spokane County in Washington reports that the sales of recreational marijuana exceeded that of common household grocery list items like milk and bread. It also outsold wine. Beer seemed to be the one item that marijuana sales could not top in 2015. The county reported sales of just over $43 million in 2015, averaging out to $225.64 per household, according to data made available by the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board.
According to Seattle Times, marijuana sales in Spokane County are not just from county residents. Residents living anywhere in the State of Washington, that are 21 years of age and older, can purchase recreational marijuana from the available 17 state licensed retail locations. County marijuana retailers report increasing sales numbers with each passing month. The Washington Department of Revenue went as far as to say that the receipts from recreational marijuana sales could top those of theme parks, concerts, bookstore sales and museum ticket purchases.
Beer sales per household average $232.70, which is only $7.06 more per household than the recreational marijuana average. County residents, according to surveys, spent an average of $109.71 per household on bread and $155.37 per household on milk.
Gary Forsyth, chief economist at Avista, argues that comparing marijuana sales records to household items is difficult, saying: “We don’t have a lot of consumption data, so it’s hard to see how the market is going to evolve.”
In the first quarter of 2016, sales reports proved to be impressive. Although slightly lower than the previous quarter, $14.5 million in marijuana sales is something to notice. The state expects revenues to increase as the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board will control the medical marijuana industry in Washington beginning in July.
One of the biggest benefits of recreational and medical marijuana sales in Washington State is the tax revenues generated from those sales. Different localities in the state are allocated a specific portion of those tax dollars, which are then broken down to allocate specific amounts for each city/town within a designated county. For example, Spokane County should receive $442,917 in tax dollars, while the city of Spokane receives about ¼ of that at $123,011.