So far, legal Oregon marijuana sales have exceeded expectations. And there is no shortage of statistics pointing to those successes, which show Oregon marijuana sales nipping at the heels of Colorado’s enviable numbers while outpacing Washington receipts.
What’s more — and surely cause for added joy to many good people across the Beaver State — is that tax revenue collected off 2016 Oregon marijuana sales is now being disbursed to qualifying groups.
How much money, you ask? Try $85 million on for size. Yes, that’s a mega-sized piggy bank’s worth. In total, the state collected over $108 million in 2016 marijuana taxes, but after administrative and regulatory startup costs were stripped out, that left roughly $85 million to be distributed.
So where does all that tax money from Oregon marijuana sales go? Good question.
Here’s a percentage breakdown of where the tax revenue must go by law:
40 percent — Common School Fund
20 percent — Mental health, drug and alcohol treatment programs
15 percent — Oregon State Police
10 percent — Cities (law enforcement)
10 percent — Counties (law enforcement)
5 percent — Oregon Health Authority
And here’s how those percentages translate into real dollars based on the $85 million of tax revenue:
$34 million — state school fund
$17 million — mental health, alcoholism and drug services account
$17 million — Oregon cities and counties (law enforcement)
$12 million — Oregon State Police
$4 million — Oregon Health Authority
Anthony Johnson, the primary ballot petitioner to legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon said, “I am glad to hear that the revenue is finally being distributed. This is what the voters intended. It shows that legalizing and regulating cannabis can help generate revenue for important governmental services.”
No doubt other states will take note of how Oregon marijuana sales tax revenues can help shore up budget needs. Especially states with budget shortfalls.