The Oregon weed industry has collected $25 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales since the temporary tax increase was introduced in January this year. The state legalized recreational marijuana in 2014 and a 25% tax was put on recreational marijuana sales in January this year. The tax is expected to ultimately land somewhere between 17 and 20 percent when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes over running the regulation of recreational marijuana later in the year. With the Oregon weed industry only just beginning its life, the news is good and economists are estimating that the state will make $44.4 million in tax revenue for 2016.
Divvying Up the Oregon Weed Tax Proceeds
The state expects to spend about $28.7 million governing and regulating marijuana. Only $12 million of the tax revenue will be spent on the cost of marijuana regulation. The rest of the expense will be covered by the money earned from fees and licenses paid by marijuana businesses. The remaining money will be divided amongst different government services and departments. First of all, 40 percent will be distributed to Oregon’s Common School Fund, then 20 percent will go towards mental health, alcoholism and drug services, 15 percent goes to the Oregon State Police, 10 percent goes to county law enforcement and 5 percent will go to the Oregon Health Authority for drug and alcohol prevention and early intervention and treatment services.
The Oregon weed industry kicked into gear last October when the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries got permission to begin selling recreational marijuana to adults over the age of 21. The dispensaries were required to submit their second quarterly tax figures by August 1st. The dispensaries on the whole seem to have generated approximately $102 million in recreational marijuana sales, so far this year generating the $25.5 million in tax revenue for the state. Economists had a hard time projecting exactly how much would be made in the sale of edibles. The black market made the cannabis snacks a murky area on which to produce accurate predictions. The Oregon Department of Revenue, who released the tax figures on Monday, still estimate that they expect the sales from edibles to keep increasing.
Mazin Malik, a senior state economist with the Office of Legislative Revenue said “We know some people would embrace them because they don’t like smoking, for example, so it would be an easier thing to go to,” he said. “Others would just want to try them because they are new and different and they want to see how they work.”
The Future of Oregon Marijuana
The figures that were anticipated through June 2017 by Oregon’s Legislative Revenue Office were recently quadrupled, rising from $8.4 million to $35 million. The figures are encouraging, especially as 8 more states, including California, Arizona and Maine, go to the voting booths this November with the option to legalize recreational marijuana in the respective states. All movement towards the end of prohibition is positive at this stage as it allows the public to once again receive the many benefits of this medicinal flower.