Albeit Colorado’s accomplishments in the cannabis industry, Oregon is the state that most people are associating with marijuana. Oregon had the biggest dispensary infrastructure set up when recreational pot was legalized in a vote during November of 2014. As a result, most people considered Oregon very much able to compete with prices on the black market. But an intriguing turn of events has arisen since recreational pot came about in October of 2015.
Similar other states that have legalized recreational cannabis, Oregon has a tax on the crop implemented to generate revenue. Forty percent of taxes will be going to schools; thirty-five percent are for police and law enforcements while the rest is sent to hospitals and rehabilitation centers. After a three month tax holiday, a twenty-five percent tax was implemented on recreational cannabis sales beginning on January 1st, 2016. The Oregonian highlights that when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes control over the cannabis industry later on in 2016, taxes will fall to seventeen percent.
Oregon’s tax has been unexpected in comparison to other states which put taxes on different levels of the retail cannabis process (cultivators, processors, sellers, etc.). Dispensaries in Oregon are usually given the ability to give the tax entirely to the customers, give some to the customers, or give none to the clients and pay for it all themselves; obviously, the latter isn’t expected to happen. State regulators in Oregon do not care about the cannabis prices so long as taxes are paid.
As The Oregonian noted following an interview with many dispensary owners, the responses from consumers and owners to the taxes have varied. A portion of customers buys the legal crop without hesitation while others have gone back to the black market to buy cannabis. At the same time, most shop owners are pushing the taxes onto the consumers while other dispensaries are trying to take up a portion of it so that they could create a loyal customer base.