Record Marijuana Sales in Oregon, Congress Considering Reform
Oregon saw record marijuana sales for the second consecutive month this April. According to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, sales were up 45% from April of last year, with profits totalling $89 million – making April of 2020 the greatest month for sales on record in Oregon.
Annually, recreational marijuana sales exceed $100 million in Oregon, and the state sees a 17% retail tax, with cities or counties being able to apply a 3% tax. This steady source of tax revenue has proven resilient through the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to more vulnerable revenues such as personal income.
Oregon, along with over 25 other states, declared dispensaries ‘essential’ businesses through the pandemic, allowing them to stay open to the public.
Advocates of legalization argue that legalizing recreational marijuana nationally would create many reliable jobs for Americans, as well as a boost for the economy and create tax revenue. The industry has reportedly seen nearly a quarter-million employees up until March.
The U.S. passed a COVID-19 relief bill recently, granting bank access to marijuana businesses, and congress is discussing reformative measures including banking laws.
Some Oregon politicians have supported these moves. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) believes that such businesses should be allowed to take out loans and open bank accounts.
Wyden believes marijuana-related businesses and dispensaries in legalized states should be able to open bank accounts and take out a loans.
“It is an important public safety issue because I don’t think we should require these businesses in effect to be cash only,” Wyden told KGW.
Oregon continues to example how recreational and legal marijuana business can provide a much needed boost to the economy, especially in the harshest of times.