Washington expects to rake in about $730 million from sales of legalized marijuana over the next two years.
While that may seem like a large sum, it amounts to just a small piece of the $41.3 billion in total revenues that are expected to bankroll the state’s general fund over the same period.
What’s more, without a change in law, only some of the state’s marijuana money is available for lawmakers to spend however they want, limiting its utility in dealing with budget challenges such as the state Supreme Court order to fix the way the state pays for schools.
More than 60 percent of the state’s marijuana money over the next two years is slated to go toward public health programs, including Medicaid, substance abuse prevention efforts and community health centers, according to the state Office of Financial Management.
Another $17 million will go to the Liquor and Cannabis Board, which is responsible for regulating the state’s legal marijuana market, while $30 million will be shared with local governments that allow marijuana sales within their limits.
The remaining money that freely flows into the state general fund — about $211 million — adds up to about half of 1 percent of the state’s projected operating budget for 2017-19.
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