For marijuana businesses, Wednesday was the first deadline to pay their tax obligations to the Liquor Control Board. Pot businesses owed the state about $750,000 for July excise taxes, according to Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith. Over the past several days, many have come to the Liquor Control Board’s offices to settle up.
With limited access to banking services, that can be complicated for some. Although most pot proprietors paid with personal checks, said Smith, about $120,000 came in cash. Smith said one pot proprietor came to the office and pulled cash out of a box to pay his taxes.
“We put a window in our front lobby,” said spokesman Smith, explaining the process. “You make a transaction through a window like you’re buying a movie ticket.”
Randy Simmons, the state’s marijuana project director at the Liquor Control Board, said the agency prepared for pot entrepreneurs bringing in the green. He said the agency had retrofit the building and built a secure cash room to protect the state’s tax haul. It doesn’t hurt that the agency is next to the Washington State Patrol offices.
“Once the money gets here and we’ve counted it and receipted it, it goes to a safe and an armored car picks up the cash and takes it to the bank,” said Simmons.
Smith said the process has gone smoothly.
“It’s been business as usual even though this is an unusual business for us,” he said.
Smith said the agency was pleased so many businesses were able to pay by check.
“If people are writing big checks for business, it makes me think they’ve got a bank account somewhere,” said Smith. “It suggests people are finding banking solutions.”