SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Starting back in January 2016, medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon began collecting a 25% tax on recreational marijuana sales. Since then, the Department of Revenue processed $6.84 million.
There were 320 dispensaries selling recreation marijuana as of February, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Taxes collected are distributed throughout the state by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission:
- Common school fund (40%)
- Alcohol and drug treatment programs (20%)
- State police, local cities & counties and the Oregon Health Authority (15%)
Oregonians legalized marijuana on November 4, 2014. The passed measure called for legalization by July 1, 2015 and required the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to adopt rules by Jan. 1, 2016. Retail sales of recreational marijuana began Oct. 1 in Oregon, sooner than had been expected.
Marijuana shops reported brisk business on the first day of legal recreational sales in Oregon. Brad Zusman, co-owner of Canna Daddy’s, a store in Portland, said pot was sold to more than 90 customers in the first two hours after the store opened its doors.
Taxing the pot began at the first of the year and is one of the very few items in Oregon to have a sales tax.
Oregon is one of 4 states – along with Colorado, Washington and Alaska — to legalize the weed that has been the source of so many studies, so many words and so many arrests over the past 8 decades.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, marijuana was legal and accessible. Cannabis was available in liquid form at drug stores and in the more refined product of hash.
The United States House of Representatives took only 30 minutes to debate and pass the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, which required dealers to pay a transfer tax. It put cannabis under the regulation of the Drug Enforcement Agency, criminalizing possession of the plant throughout the country.