Recreational marijuana has been sold in Oregon dispensaries for just one week, and sales have reached an estimated $11 million. If sales keep up, the state is going to earn much more tax revenue than originally predicted.
Customers and dispensary owners reported that the first week of sales has gone very well. Jeff Johnson, owner of local dispensary Nectar, stated that, “We’re seeing about 500 people a day.”
One customer exclaimed that, “It’s exciting. It’s just really weird, it feels like it’s not even really happening to be honest, it’s really bizarre.”
Other customers are curious about the whole thing. One noted that, “We just wanted to come in and check it out. We’ve never been able to go into one of the stores to see what it’s like.”
The Oregon Retail Cannabis Association estimated that there were approximately $3.5 million in sales of recreational marijuana on October 1st, the first day it was sold.
So far, Oregon is “doing better” than other states that have legalized the sale of recreational pot. Colorado’s first week of sales realized about $5 million in profits while Washington took about one month to sell its first $2 million.
When Oregon voters approved the legal sale and use of recreational marijuana, the state estimated that it would earn about $9 million in net tax revenue for the first full year of sales. The Oregon Retail Cannabis Association believes that sales will bring the state at least three to four times that amount.
Rachel Clerk, an employee at Fresh Buds in Portland, observed that, “It’s just person after person after person.” It could not have come at a better time as the store was struggling to stay afloat with only about 15 medical marijuana customers a day. Clerk noted that, “There for awhile, towards the end we were thinking we might have to close the doors because we weren’t getting any kind of steady business.” Now, the store is averaging about 10 times as much customer traffic and is finally making profits again.
Johnson points out that the stores are seeing many different types of customers. “Obviously we’re seeing a young crowd but we’re also seeing people in their 50s and 60s that would never have bought the product if it wasn’t legal.”
Oregon’s regulatory framework provides that recreational marijuana sales are tax-free until January 2016, when a 25% tax will be tacked on. The tax revenues will go towards funding schools, state police, municipal governments and mental health programs statewide.