It was about taxing under the MSA act, classifying as tobacco. The fiscal statement says the money was intended to replace revenue lost by tobacco quitters.lol, your state legalizes a federally illegal product, but someone freaked out about ecigs and tried to pass a bill trying to tax it out of existence. It was going nowhere to begin with IMO. They will tax it though, just like the other stuff, but not that BS that was just put up for a vote.
/the rest of the states said "lulz, ok WA"
The MSA provided tobacco settlement money to be paid by the 5 biggies (and smaller startups within the next couple years), for 25 years starting after 1998. Forget the exact amount to be paid, the fine print - if the revenue drops from tobacco sales (since this was punitive damages, and they do want us to quit, don't they?), the tobacco companies pay less and could end up paying nothing.
Washington was one of many states that did a settlement buy out. They sold the rights to future tobacco payments for bonds. Of course, in 2000, they were graded munis with A+ certification and above. Now, with the drop in revenue (check out ticker symbol MO, Altria, for historic data), they are mostly graded junk, and the interest rate being paid is higher, the State needed (or is hoping to) reclassify ecigs as tobacco under the MSA act, therefore using a projected growth of over 150% during the next 4 years, recouping that money from the tobacco companies. Um, Tennessee also sold, but are you in the tobacco belt?
That is why many states were looking at this, along with many states banning ecigs from non-smoking places. This is a slow but subtle move to try to get nic ejuice reclassified as tobacco. There is a non-profit firm, funded by grants it shouldn't be receiving, leading the way for states (and if that doesn't work, local municipalities), in this direction.
It's all about the money, but not exactly the way you thought. The bills in Washington state included language for the MSA act. Otherwise, why not just sin tax it without that language, like alchohol? (PS, after a year, the sin tax for alcohol was supposed to be reduced, but almost two years, going strong).
Just sayin'', this wasn't a signature gathering public initiative that got the mari on the ballot, this is state lawmakers trying to recoup the lost revenue from quitting smokers, and it's not just the sales tax,
Coming to a state near you?