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Oregon Marijuana Sales More Than $11 Million the First Week

During the Measure 91 campaign, economic firm EcoNorthwest projected that the state would bring in $38.5 million in new revenue the first year while the state of Oregon projected a more modest $9 of net revenue. If the first week of sales are any indication, the higher projection by EcoNorthwest may just be the more accurate number, if not a conservative estimate itself.  Sales in Oregon were booming the first week that medical marijuana dispensaries could sell cannabis flower to adults 21 and over. Of course, Marijuana Politics was there to cover the first day of legal cannabis commerce in Oregon.

The long lines on the first day looked like sales were good and the numbers didn’t disappoint the following days as retail sales reached more than $11 million in the first week. KGW reports:

One week in, Oregon is already far ahead of dollars spent on pot compared to Colorado’s first week of legal recreational sales, at $5 million. Washington took a month to sell its first $2 million, according to Marijuana Business Daily.

When Oregon voters approved recreational marijuana, the state set an estimate of $9 million in net tax revenue for the first full year of 2017. But the Oregon Retail Cannabis Association believes it’ll bring in three to four times that much.

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Oregon recreational marijuana sales are all tax-free until January. Once that 25 percent tax gets added on, it’ll go to help fund schools, mental health programs, state police and the cities and counties that are allowing recreational sales.

As KGW notes, a 25% tax goes into effect the beginning of 2016 at the medical dispensaries selling cannabis flower to adults. State-regulated recreational retail outlets that will sell more cannabis products, including edibles, topicals and concentrates aren’t expected to be open to the public until September or October of 2016. The state-regulated retail stores will then be taxed with a 17% state tax while localities can impose an additional 3% tax.

If the $11 million dollar sales mark would continue for an entire year, the state would generate more than $97 million a year with a 17% tax. Sales may drop off a bit as the newness of state-licensed cannabis commerce wears off and when taxes begin, but that drop off may be countered by the new marijuana products that will be available later in 2016. Whether the $11 million a week number keeps up, or the sales dip a bit, it is easy to see that legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana will generate plenty of revenue for the state of Oregon, while creating jobs and better prioritizing law enforcement resources.

I, and others, have often stated that Oregon’s cannabis industry will follow in the footsteps of Oregon’s microbrewery and winery industries, creating a new industry that the state can be proud of. If the first week of sales are any indication, the marijuana industry in Oregon will quickly outpace the tax revenue generated by beer and wine, as the state collects about $17.65 million a year in beer and wine taxes. Prohibitionists used to claim that revenue from legalizing cannabis wouldn’t materialize, but it looks like they will have to move onto another false claim as Oregon has already proven that there are plenty of residents who have been waiting to engage in regulated cannabis commerce.

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis le

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Anthony Johnson

Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.

  • Michael

    I am still shocked that counties and cities are banning cannabis production and sales. They are giving up huge amounts of tax dollars. Even Marion county, where the law passed, has put a ban in place until next November during the general election. They, and all the farmers in Marion county will be late to the party.

  • Zachery

    I’m a medical user that has had no card but severe back problems and knee problems, on a personal level I’ve still been working and yet puerile seem to vote no. let’s change this for Oregon and especially Pendleton, OR.