The quarterly revenue forecast state economists released this week showed Oregon's booming economy continues to deliver record tax revenues—and cannabis consumption is going through the roof.
When lawmakers finalized the 2017-2019 budget in the middle of last year, they expected to net about $142 million from cannabis taxes over that two-year period. As of this week, the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis has jacked that number up to nearly $163 million, a 15 percent increase.
For 2019-2021, they now expect the tax to yield $222 million. (Of that amount 40 percent goes to K-12 education, the rest to services and law enforcement.)
"After reconvening our marijuana forecast advisory group that consists of stakeholders from state agencies, local governments, and industry professionals, in addition to tracking developments in other recreational markets, the marijuana forecast has been raised significantly," the forecast says.
The tax is a percentage of the price of cannabis, which is in a long-term downtrend because of oversupply.
But the record low prices aren't cutting into the state's tax receipts.
"Since Oregon levies its recreational marijuana tax based on the price of the product, the fact that actual tax collections have exceeded expectations is all the more impressive given the ongoing drop in prices," the forecast says. "For every ounce sold, or every edible purchased, Oregon is receiving less tax revenue per item due to the price decline."