Oregon’s Cannabis Industry Celebrates the “Billion-Dollar” Mark
News from www.OregonMy420Network.com
As 2020 fell by the wayside, the state of Oregon saw a crowning achievement in their cannabis market. Talk about success, the combined adult-use and medical cannabis sales hit a billion dollars for the first time – a huge leap from the 2019 total.
It is true that sales have been growing steadily since Oregon’s adult-use market began taking shape five years ago, reaching a record $795 million in 2019. However, because of sales rising when the pandemic hit back in March. That figure surged and, as of the end of November, sales were at a preliminary total of $1.014 billion.
There is absolutely no sign of this slowing down in any way with the entrance of 2021. Whether asking a shop owner or an economist what can be attributed to the sales spike, the majority will state that it was a literal basketful of events. It came from federal stimulus checks being received to enhanced unemployment benefits, as well as from people working at home and/or having more free time and the need for calm and relief during this pandemic-laden period.
It is well-known that Oregon jumped to action with the COVID-19 outbreak. The shops were allowed to operate by the industry, even when many businesses were shut down. In addition, regulators in the state worked diligently to help businesses institute things like the very popular “curb-side pickup” to keep safety in the forefront of everyone’s minds.
This new “billion-dollar baby” Oregon has on its hands has proven to be an impressive addition to Oregon’s economy. Steve Marks, the executive director of Oregon’s Liquor Control Commission (OLCC), said: “Now we need to continue to adjust our regulatory oversight so that it supports the cannabis industry’s entrepreneurial spirit, while at the same time developing strong consumer product safety standards that reinforce the quality found in Oregon’s cannabis marketplace.”
Although sales increased in other states with the addition of the recreational adult-use market (i.e., Washington was up 29% through October and Colorado saw a rise of 24%), Oregon has seen even better results. And those higher sales have translated to much-needed revenue for the state. Oregon taxes adult-use sales, which comprise about 90% of total sales, at a 17% rate, Most localities add a 3% tax.
Each individual county has its own success story. One, Malheur County, is taking advantage of its close location to Idaho (currently a cannabis-deprived state), to race past neighboring Baker County to become the per-capita cannabis sales leader for Oregon in 2020. The county totaled $91.7 million, all in the city of Ontario which lies on the border with Idaho. In addition, the OLCC reported that all but two of the 31 counties in Oregon where cannabis is sold legally saw big gains in 2020.
When it came to Ontario, it was clear they wanted in on the action that Baker County was seeing. Baker had not barred sales and from 2017 to 2019, they had sold the most product. It was in November of 2018, when Ontario voted to overturn its own ban, allowing the first store to open in July of 2019. When that number grew to eight in 2020, Ontario benefitted from a 352% increase in sales. This one city has been greatly excited by what this boon has brought to the location and its citizens. Their annual general fund budget of around $10 million saw an addition of more than $2.5 million in revenue from the 3% cannabis tax.
While Malheur County came in first on a per-capita basis, a very heavily populated Multnomah County checked in as being the leader in the raw sales count (as usual), recording more than $313 million. There were changes to these sales in 2020 because around $58 million was attributed to card-carrying medical marijuana patients. This was more than double the amount from 2019, meaning more than one-fifth of sales went untaxed.
Oregon definitely has a reason to celebrate, and they look forward to the sales in 2021 being even better.
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