In the first half of 2016 Oregon has collected more in marijuana taxes than state officials predicted.
The Oregon Department of Revenue is reporting that $25.5 million in marijuana taxes was collected from January 1 through July 31 of 2016. Dispensaries were required to file second quarter tax returns on August 1st or face a potential penalty. Sales for the marijuana industry totaled $102 million for the six-month period.
This figure eclipses the department’s prediction of Oregon collecting $18.4 million in marijuana taxes for the first two years of legalization. Starting in January, a 25% sales tax was applied to recreational marijuana sales.
Marijuana edibles have only just begun to factor into the equation. In June, infused edible products finally became available for recreational sales.
State economists are predicting that marijuana taxes will generate $44.6 million in total for Oregon in 2016. This number could swell now that the edible market may be poised to grow considerably.
Of the expected $44.6 million collected in marijuana taxes, $12 million will be directed toward marijuana regulation. Fees raised from marijuana business licenses will provide the rest of $28.7 million needed to oversee Oregon’s marijuana industry.
According to Oregon Live, officials will use the approximately $32 million left over after regulation costs in the following ways:
- 40 percent to the state’s Common School Fund
- 20 percent to mental health, alcoholism and drug services,
- 15 percent to Oregon State Police
- 10 percent for city law enforcement,
- 10 percent for county law enforcement
- 5 percent to the Oregon Health Authority for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, early intervention and treatment services.
The Tax Foundation reports that marijuana taxes collected in Colorado and Washington state have also exceeded initial predictions. An additional 8 states will be voting on legalizing recreational marijuana (California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada) and medical marijuana (Florida, Missouri and Arkansas). Taxes derived from marijuana sales are expected to rise significantly while costs associated with drug enforcement will decline.