Oregon is reaping the green benefits of its legal weed industry to the tune of a cool $85 million. Having legalized marijuana in 2014, Oregon has finally begun to distribute the tax dollars that the state has collected, after a two-year wait.
Wait, What Took Oregon So Long To Distribute Its Legal Cannabis Tax Revenue?
The reason is that the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), which oversees the state’s legal marijuana program, had to first reimburse the administrative costs associated with setting up and implementing the program.
The OLCC took out a loan for $13 million to cover the initial setup costs, agency spokesman Mark Pettinger explained to the King5 television station.
Now that the money has been paid back, it’s time to distribute the tax revenue to various health, educational and law enforcement programs across the state.
How Does Oregon Distribute Its Legal Cannabis Tax Revenue?
Here’s a break down of where the money is going, according to the Oregon Department of Revenue:
- $34 million will benefit the state school fund.
- $17 million will go to the mental health, alcoholism and drug services account.
- $17 million will go to Oregon cities and counties.
- $12 million will go to the Oregon State Police.
- $4 million will go to the Oregon Health Authority.
And apparently this is just the tip of the iceberg. Oregon’s weed sales have far exceeded all expectations.
“I am glad to hear that the revenue is finally being distributed,” Anthony Johnson, the chief petitioner of Measure 91 told the Oregonian. “This is what the voters intended. It shows that legalizing and regulating cannabis can help generate revenue for important governmental services.”
During just the first three months of this year, roughly 11,000 pounds of weed were sold in the state’s approximately 300 legal dispensaries, for total sales revenue of $43.7 million, generating some $13.4 million in sales tax revenue.
Thankfully, this is happening—or will happen if given the chance—all around the country.
Marijuana tax revenue is expected to exceed $2.3 billion by 2020 in the United States and create up to 300,000 jobs. Think of all those social, educational, housing and drug counseling programs that can be funded with these tax dollars. Who wouldn’t want to be part of one of the fastest growing industries in the United States? Why not tell your congress people that you’d like to be!