$10M requested for marijuana sales kickoff

Economists predict $18 million in Oregon's first two years

FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2014 file photo, a sample of marijuana is shown inside the dispensary at Collective Awakenings on in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Beth Nakamura, File)
A jar of marijuana (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Beth Nakamura, File)

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN 6) — On Thursday, Oregon lawmakers asked for $10 million to get recreational marijuana sales underway in the state, following in the footsteps of Colorado and Washington. But KOIN 6 News learned the tax money generated by pot sales is expected to be much slimmer in Oregon.

As the first state with a full year of recreational marijuana sales, Colorado is the poster child for legal pot. Just last year, the state generated $700 million in marijuana sales — about half recreational and have medicinal.

“We’ve looked at Colorado and Washington, their number of licenses, so it’s helped us think about how much we’re going to get in terms of permitees and what the revenue is going to be,” Steve Marks, the director of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, said.

Oregon economists told lawmakers Thursday they predict the state will take in $18 million in its first two years of recreational pot sales. But Oregon medical marijuana sellers already in business said they expect the business to blossom quickly.

Despite competition in Washington state, they expect the lower taxes on Oregon marijuana products to be a big draw.

“It’s going to be cheaper, the bottom line is how can we save some money for the consumers?” Julie Dubocq with Shango Cannabis said.

But first, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission wants over $10 million from the state to get the program off the ground. They have plans to include more than 30 people and technical support.

So where will marijuana money go in Oregon? 40% of taxes will help fund schools, 25% will go towards mental health, alcohol and drug treatment, and 35% will go to state and local law enforcement.

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