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First month of recreational weed sales in Oregon generates $3.5 million in tax revenues

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The first month of taxable commercial sales of recreational marijuana in Oregon generated nearly $3.5 million in tax revenues, far exceeding projections, the state Department of Revenue has reported.

Oregon’s marijuana tax receipts from January also surpassed the first-month tallies from recreational cannabis sales in Colorado and Washington state, the first two states to legalize general commercial distribution of pot for adults.

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Colorado collected $2.9 million in taxes when recreational sales launched there in January 2014, a sum that included revenue from both recreational and medical cannabis purchases.

Washington’s recreational industry, which started slow with just 18 stores licensed to sell pot, yielded $1 million in tax revenue when it debuted in August 2014.

By comparison, Oregon’s 300 licensed cannabis retailers sold $13.9 million worth of marijuana in January, generating $3.48 million in taxes, according to a revenue report issued on Thursday.

The stronger-than-expected sales may have stemmed in part from the state’s gradual approach to pot taxation, allowing more time for businesses to get established.

Adults over 21 have been permitted to buy marijuana from dispensaries in the state since Oct. 1, 2015, and for the first three months those retail sales were untaxed. A 25 percent sales tax went into effect on Jan. 1, although it is waived for cannabis buyers with a medical card.

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Oregon’s Liquor Control Commission, charged with regulating the drug, had forecast annual tax revenues of about $8 million during the first two years of legal recreational pot sales.

Although tax structures vary across the three states where pot sales are currently legal, all have earmarked funds for similar programs – schools, drug and alcohol counseling, and law enforcement.

Cannabis use remains classified as an illegal narcotic under U.S. federal law, putting the national government at odds with a growing number of states moving to legalize cannabis for medical purposes, recreational use or both.

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In Alaska, where voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, regulators expect stores to open by the end of this year.

Voters in the District of Columbia have legalized recreational pot as well, but a congressional budget bill passed last year bars sales of the drug until 2017 or later.

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(Reporting by Courtney Sherwood; Editing by Steve Gorman and Tom Hogue)


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2020 Election

2016 Trump campaign vets warn he’s ‘slipping badly’ in multiple swing states

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Two men who worked on President Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign have warned the president that his position in swing states is significantly deteriorating amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Politico reports that former Trump campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie delivered a face-to-face warning to the president that he was "slipping badly" in several key states, including must-win battlegrounds such as Florida and Arizona.

"Bossie and Lewandowski, who served as top aides on Trump’s 2016 effort, complained to the president about his political operation," the publication writes. "Trump’s campaign team, in response decided to rush their Arizona and Florida representatives onto airplanes for a Thursday meeting with the president."

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WSJ slams Trump for ‘hurting the country’ by ‘debasing’ the presidency: ‘Ugly even for him’

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President Donald Trump was slammed by the editorial board of the conservative Wall Street Journal on Tuesday evening.

“Donald Trump sometimes traffics in conspiracy theories—recall his innuendo in 2016 about Ted Cruz’s father and the JFK assassination—but his latest accusation against MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is ugly even for him,” the newspaper noted. “Mr. Trump has been tweeting the suggestion that Mr. Scarborough might have had something to do with the death in 2001 of a young woman who worked in his Florida office when Mr. Scarborough was a GOP Congressman.”

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‘We have them outnumbered’: Morning Joe explains why Trump’s ‘vile’ tweets don’t work on most people

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough explained why most Americans could not be dragged down to President Donald Trump's level, hurling angry attacks and ignoring scientific advice.

The "Morning Joe" host said the president's refusal to wear a mask and his murder allegations against him would fall flat with most Americans, because they didn't spend all day stoking their own anger on social media.

"Most Americans don't live in the gutters of Twitter," Scarborough said. "Most Americans don't live posting hateful things about people on Facebook. They talk about their loved ones, they talk about their faith in God, they talk about their children, their grandchildren. We have them outnumbered."

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