When retail marijuana sales to adults 21 and older opened up on October 1st the response was overwhelming. In the first day alone the state had broken $5 Million in sales – it took Colorado the entire first week to reach that number and Washington only reached $2 million by the end of their first month!
It’s safe to say that there were plenty of cannabis users in Oregon who were just waiting for legal sales to come to their state. After only the first 5 days of recreational sales the state had already hit $11 million in sales – and for now this is pure sales and no taxes.
Until January 2016, retail marijuana sales in Oregon will be tax free – which could be a big reason that people are jumping in now and buying up what they can afford. After all, once the state imposes tax, the price will jump 25% on every retail sale in a medicinal dispensary.
The state projected their revenues around $9 million – and it’s probably safe to say they were shocked with the turn out over the first week. Considering marijuana has been legal to poses in Oregon since July 1st, but there was no legal way to obtain it, there were plenty of people who were just waiting for the O.K. to buy.
A projection by EcoNorthwest estimated that Oregon would bring in around $38.5 million in their first full year of legalization – and even this seems like a low estimate when they were able to bring in $11 million in only the first few days.
However it is likely that there will be a dip in sales once the hype has worn off and taxes have been introduced. The 25% tax will only be for medicinal dispensaries selling retail flower – state regulated retail only stores would have a 17% tax and local county governments would able to impose up to an additional 3%.
All the tax money made off of the sales of recreational marijuana will be going to funding schools, mental health programs, state authorities and city and counties that allow retail sales. If their sales keep up with that first week they could be looking at around $97 million in revenue in a single year.
Once things have started to settle into place with their recreational sales, Oregon’s retail stores will start to sell edibles, concentrates and other forms of cannabis goodies. These will only be sold in state-regulated retail shops.
According to a quote from High Times, people of all ages, even people in their fifties and sixties, many of them who haven’t touched a joint or a bowl in decades, all showed up just because they were happy they had to opportunity to buy legal cannabis.
Looking at the more or less instant results seen by the state of Oregon it is clear that they made the right decision when it came to legalization. They have opened up the doors to a profitable and growing industry, creating jobs, a better economy and will have the ability to generate revenue to keep all their schools and programs running smoothly.
Congratulations, Oregonians! I hope to see this kind of success in many more states as the success of a legal retail market for marijuana continues to shine through.