A total of $25.5 million collected in Oregon in marijuana sales tax since January is about as much as state officials expected. While not a universal solution to all budget problems in the state, this new source of revenue will surely help balance the books in Oregon.
The 25 percent tax on weed sales was introduced in January. Since then, medical weed dispensaries in Oregon have managed to sell over $102 million worth of cannabis. These are the financial results for the first six months of this year; we can reasonably assume that by the end of the year, this figure should roughly double. The newly instituted marijuana sales tax in Oregon applies to all sales of cannabis, including sales of cannabis edibles.
According to official projections, Oregon is going to collect over $44 million in marijuana taxes by the end of this year. A significant portion of this money will be used to cover the costs of regulating cannabis in the state, an estimated $26.7 million (this expense will be also partially covered by cannabis licensing fees paid by marijuana businesses). The rest of the revenue will be directed to Oregon’s Common School Fund (40 percent), mental health, drug and alcoholism services (20 percent), city and county law enforcement (20 percent), Oregon State Police (15 percent) and to the Oregon Health Authority (5 percent). The OHA will use this money on drug and alcohol abuse prevention, early intervention services, and treatment of patients.
This 25 percent marijuana sales tax is, however, meant as a temporary measure. In the future, this tax will be abolished and replaced with a new one as the Oregon Liquor Control Commission will take over the regulation of cannabis market in the state. When this happens later this year, the base marijuana sales tax will be 17 percent. Cities and counties in Oregon can increase this by further 3 percent depending on local ordinances. With this lower tax rate, some experts predict that the total marijuana tax revenue in Oregon next year will decrease to approximately $31 million.