Recreational marijuana sales and taxes were included in Oregon’s quarterly Economic and Revenue Forecast for the first time. The report came out Tuesday and projects an upward trend for marijuana revenue.
Even though voters passed the measure legalizing recreational marijuana in 2014, sales didn’t actually begin until October of the following year. With a limited amount of data, the Office of Economic Analysis drew on numbers from states that legalized recreational marijuana before Oregon did.
State Economist Mark McMullen stressed that the outlook for this new industry is highly uncertain. But he told OPB’s "Think Out Loud " the overall outlook for Oregon marijuana sales is positive.
"Right now, we’re looking at Colorado and Washington as guides, which would suggest that we have quite a bit of growth remaining," he said. "The next couple of years we’ll see our revenues go from the $60 million they are now to something along the lines of $80 or $90 million a year going forward."
Marijuana revenue doesn’t go toward the general fund and does not affect the state’s budget shortfall or the possibility of a “kicker” tax rebate.