Herbery COO to testify to legislature today
Jim Mullen, the chief operating officer of The Herbery, a recreational pot shop in Vancouver, will testify to the state Legislature this afternoon about bills affecting the tax structure for marijuana businesses.
Many companies in the I-502 recreational market say the tax structure, which imposes a 25 percent excise tax on companies three times in stages from grower to processor to seller, is excessive and makes it hard to compete with the black market.
Below is the store’s press release and Mullen’s prepared comments for the legislature tonight.
Press release: The Herbery’s Jim Mullen to Provide Legislative Testimony Tonight
Jim Mullen, Chief Operating Officer at The Herbery NW, is providing testimony at a hearing of the Washington State Legislature House Finance Committee in Olympia, Washington tonight, March 4th at 6:00pm on bills impacting the future of the legal marijuana industry in Washington.
“We at The Herbery are not politicians or interested in pushing any political agenda’s or campaigns, but the existence of our industry’s future is at stake and we felt compelled to take action,” explained Mullen, who will be joined in Olympia by Rick Zahler, Co-Owner of The Herbery.
The two bills under consideration are Democratic House Bill 2136 and Senate Bill 5467, Republican. Both would positively change the heavy taxation small businesses like The Herbery are struggling with.
“The future of the legal marijuana industry depends on immediate changes and simplification of the tax structure is key,” commented Mullen, who took to The Herbery Facebook page yesterday to alert those who follow their comments about the pending legislation.
Here is Mullen’s prepared testimony for tonight:
Thank you Representative Carlyle and members of this committee for the opportunity to testify.
My name is Jim Mullen and I’m here with my business partner Richard Zahler. We own a retail store called The Herbery in Vancouver and are members of the Washington Cannabusiness Association. We appreciate your willingness to engage on these tough issues impacting our industry.
It is with urgency that I testify today. Uncertainty in the legal cannabis system poses a real threat to the livelihoods of business people like me. But while you will hear the negative impacts of the current system, I hope you also hear loud and clear what you can do to support businesses in our industry across the state.
I support this legislation for everything it does to simplify the multi-layered tax system which is currently being levied against regulated cannabis businesses. The current system is especially onerous because our main competitors are unregulated and free from the levels of taxation that tie my hands and negatively impact my customers. As a result, unregulated and illegal players are rewarded with the ability to offer a consistent price break. With swift action and support for this bill, you can positively impact the marketplace so regulated business people like me stand a better chance.
I also support this legislation for everything it does to strengthen the legal cannabis system in Washington. None of us believed it would be an easy road. We are reminded at every turn about the controls in place to ensure consumers are protected and that our products are safe. Yet there is no question we will take every step to ensure we are in line with the law. When you support this legislation, you have endorsed regulated professionals who have committed to quality-controlled, regulated products and a sustainable, legal system.
With so much at stake, I know I speak for many of my colleagues when I urge your support of this legislation. Thank you for your hard work and the opportunity to be heard this evening.