Oregon Cannabis Revenue Exceeds Expectation, Tops $50 Million in 2016

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A cannabis flower top from a farm in Sandy, Oregon. Photo credit: Anthony Johnson

The Oregon cannabis commercial system hasn’t been perfect by any means and there have been some unnecessary setbacks, but the state continues to exceed initial revenue projections, bringing in more than $50 million in additional tax revenue thus far in 2016. Initially, the state Legislative Revenue Office projected that cannabis sales would only bring in $17 million a year, while the Oregon Financial Estimate Committee predicted that new revenue would range between $17 million to $40 million annually.

Fox 12 Oregon reported:

According to the Oregon Department of Revenue, statewide marijuana tax receipts for the year totaled $54,506,832 as of Nov. 30.

The state has seen steadily increasing tax payments since it began collecting them earlier this year.

In its first month of collecting marijuana taxes, the state took in $2,484,170. In October, tax receipts statewide totaled $7,831,157.

Amazingly, the Oregon cannabis market continues to exceed expectations for the year, despite a big disruption in the market caused stringent testing regulations that started on October 1st, as BDS Analytics detailed:

When Oregon implemented more stringent testing and packaging regulations for its nascent cannabis market on October 1, many in the industry speculated that the new rules would have a negative impact on the market. Now, with the availability of BDS Analytics’ detailed data for the month of October, we can objectively review the effect. Unfortunately, the numbers show that those pessimistic predictions were accurate. Oregon dispensaries’ cannabis sales dropped 8.5 percent from September to October, to $29.5 million, the first time the market fell below $30 million since May. (Sales spiked to $31.5 million in June when adult-use dispensaries began selling concentrates and edibles, and averaged $32.6 million per month July through September.)

Prohibitionists will try to downplay the tens of millions of dollars that Oregon has generated thanks to regulated cannabis sales, but every state could certainly use an extra $50 million or so. Reefer Madness propagandists first try to argue that legalization won’t bring in much money; then try to argue, without any evidence, that the social costs of cannabis will outweigh the new revenue; and finally will point to the overall size of the state budget to downplay the new revenue. Conveniently, prohibitionists won’t acknowledge the savings experienced from thousands of fewer arrests and citations and the economic benefit enjoyed by thousands of new jobs that immediately put money back into our local economy.

Thankfully, more and more voters, policymakers and elected officials across the nation are realizing the legalizing and regulating cannabis is a much better policy than the failed and harmful policy of prohibition. While increasing civil liberties and freedom are the most important reasons to end cannabis prohibition, every report detailing millions of dollars added to Oregon’s coffers helps continue the momentum for legalization across the country.

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Anthony Johnson
About Anthony Johnson 128 Articles

Anthony Johnson, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, is the director of New Approach Oregon, working to effectively implement 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, before regulatory bodies,and at city councils and county commissions across the state.

He was proud to work as Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon’s cannabis legalization effort and director of the Vote Yes on 91 PAC, the political action committees responsible for the state’s legalization campaign. He also advises cannabis entrepreneurs on how to comply with Oregon’s laws and helps organize the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference. Anthony’s blogs on are personal in nature and don’t speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization. You can see his work here at WeedNews.co as well as MarijuanaPolitics.com.