This November the voters of Oregon will have a chance to legalize marijuana and if they do the legal marijuana market could add around $38.5 million in new taxes for state.
A new report by ECONorthwest for the New Approach Oregon campaign estimates that the marijuana excise tax contained in their initiative would generate $38.5 million during the first fiscal year of tax receipts. That money would come only from the newly legalized adult-use market.
They assume most people using the current medical marijuana system will stay with it, which seems likely based on what has happened in Colorado so far. The initiative doesn’t tax medical marijuana.
Obviously, making projection when there are still some unknowns is difficult. We don’t know how many people will choose to grow their own, how many localities will ban marijuana stores and what the retail price will end up at. That said this is a decent ballpark of what to expect from the just the tax side. This analysis doesn’t include the likely criminal justice savings.
As we have seen in Colorado legal marijuana can be an effective revenue generator for the government.
Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy