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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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Trump declares impeachment ‘dead’ — and demands apology — in late night Twitter outburst

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President Donald Trump lashed out on his favorite social media platform late Thursday evening.

Eight minutes before midnight eastern time, Trump unloaded.

Trump wrote, "Democrats must apologize to USA: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said that 'United States Ambassador Gordon Sondland did NOT link financial military assistance to a request for Ukraine to open up an investigation into former V.P. Joe Biden & his son, Hunter Biden. Ambassador Sondland did not tell us, and certainly did not tell me, about a connection between the assistance and the investigation.'”

Trump did not say why he was taking the word of a foreign official over multiple sworn testimonies from members of his own administration.

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Pelosi is ‘marrying up the facts and the law’: Ex-prosecutor says ‘bribery’ is a critical indictment of Trump

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi was masterful in using the word "bribery" to describe President Donald Trump's actions with Ukraine that are at the heart of the impeachment inquiry, according to a former federal prosecutor.

MSNBC anchor Brian Williams interviewed former Assistant U.S. Attorney Berit Berger on Thursday evening's "The Last Word."

Please expand for us on why it is significant and why is it important to label this bribery," Williams said.

"So I think Nancy Pelosi was very specific in calling this bribery for two reasons," Berger replied.

"The first is that -- unlike quid pro quo -- ribery is something that most people understand, especially people who have children," she said, with a chuckle. "We all sort of have a general understanding of that."

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Giuliani henchmen showered Republican with cash — and Trump almost made him ambassador to Ukraine: report

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Yet another bombshell report has shed new light on President Donald Trump's suspicious Ukraine policies.

"At the same time that Rudy Giuliani and his now-indicted pals were pushing for President Donald Trump to remove Amb. Marie Yovanovitch from her post in Ukraine, Trump administration officials were eyeing potential contenders to take over her job. One of the people in the mix, according to three sources familiar with the discussions, was Rep. Pete Sessions, a former Congressman who called for Yovanovitch’s firing," The Daily Beast reported Thursday night. "He is also a longtime ally of the former New York Mayor, and is believed to have taken millions of dollars from Giuliani’s indicted cronies."

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