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Oregon Hits $160M in Recreational Marijuana Sales

Sales tax figures indicate that Oregon has sold over $160 million in recreational marijuana products between January and the end of September.

Oregon dispensaries sold more than $160 million in recreational marijuana in the first nine months of 2016, The Register-Guard reports. The news publication calculated the market figures using sales tax figures recently published by the state’s Department of Revenue.

State-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries reportedly submitted $40.2 million in recreational marijuana sales tax payments between the beginning of the year and the end of September. Under Oregon’s law, a 25 percent sales tax is charged for flower, edible and other recreational marijuana purchases, which suggests that about $160.8 million worth of products were sold.

The agency is still waiting for quarterly tax returns from some dispensaries, indicating that the state’s recreational marijuana sales figures are in reality bigger than calculated. According to Marijuana Business Daily, a spokeswoman with the agency has said that only 80 percent of medical dispensaries selling recreational marijuana have filed returns for the year’s first quarter.

Sales of recreational marijuana surpassed $100 million between January and July, with the state bringing in about $25.5 million in tax revenue during that period. Earlier this year, the Marijuana Business Factbook 2016 projected that Oregon’s recreational sales for the year would reach $180 million to $220 million.

Recreational and Medical Marijuana

The Department of Revenue is unable to release details on which types of recreational marijuana products sold until all the quarterly tax returns are submitted. Marijuana edibles, extracts and topicals became legal for sale on June 2, which was expected to significantly increase tax revenue over the second half of the year.

“We don’t have those [sales details] ready yet,” Department of Revenue spokeswoman Joy Krawczyk said.

Oregon’s recreational marijuana sales have far surpassed original projections. The state’s Legislative Revenue Office has already reevaluated their revenue predictions after originally estimating that the tax revenue collected through June 2017 would be $8.4 million. The office bumped up estimates to $35 million, again shown to be short of the market’s true value.

Oregon voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, but sales didn’t begin until October 2015. Adult use marijuana products have so far been sold by hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Oregon, with a 25 percent sales tax applied to products. The state’s recreational marijuana program is in the midst of transitioning to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), which licensed the first recreational marijuana retailers last month. Once the transition completes, sales tax will drop to 17 percent and limits on customer purchases will increase. To continue selling recreational products, medical marijuana dispensaries must become licensed retailers with the OLCC by 2017.

Oregon is one of four states to have legalized adult use marijuana, but five states will vote on recreational marijuana measures this November. Under Oregon’s law, adults 21 and older are legally allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana in public and up to 8 ounces of homegrown cannabis at home. Adults can also legally cultivate up to 4 plants. You can learn more about Oregon’s cannabis laws by visiting our education page.

Read more about how Oregon’s recreational marijuana industry has generated jobs and wages for residents.