There are a lot of reasons to reform marijuana laws, the most important of which is compassion. We need to have compassion for our fellow humans, and charging them with a fine and/or charging them with a crime and/or locking them in a cage is inhumane and lacks compassion. No one should have to go to jail for marijuana, or be arrested, or even fined in my opinion. That's why I fought so hard to legalize marijuana in Oregon, a state I have lived in all my life.
That's at the top of the list of reasons why we need to legalize marijuana, and second place isn't even close in my opinion. But with that being said, there are obviously a lot of other benefits to legalizing marijuana. The economic benefits of marijuana legalization are touted early and often, and I think that's in large part because it changes the minds of voters for better or worse. In a perfect world everyone would want to legalize marijuana because it's obviously the right thing to do, however, some people are much more swayed by monetary statistics for better or worse.
The State of Oregon instituted a 25% temporary tax on all recreational marijuana sales at licensed dispensaries, starting in February. State officials were quit to state that it's not a sales tax, which is a taboo phrase in Oregon. But, at the end of the day and for simplicity purposes (and just calling it what it is!), the tax is a sales tax on marijuana. The numbers are in for January, and it looks like Oregon brought in just shy of 3.5 million dollars in tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales. The Oregon Department of Revenue issued the following press release about the numbers:
February was the first month for medical marijuana dispensaries to remit the taxes they collected on their previous month's recreational marijuana sales. Dispensaries are responsible for collecting a 25-percent tax at the point of sale and remitting it to the Department of Revenue monthly.
Between February 1 and March 4, we posted 253 estimated marijuana tax payments to our system, totaling $3.48 million. Of those payments, 137 were made by appointment and 116 were made by mail. There were 309 dispensaries selling recreational marijuana products in January, according to the Oregon Health Authority.
Since dispensaries can't have bank accounts for various reasons, I'd imagine all of that tax money went to the State of Oregon in the form of cash. That cash was then deposited in a bank, which is a double standard that drives me crazy. The tax money was from marijuana sales. But the people making those sales can't have an account, yet the people they give a portion of it to can have a bank account because they are a government agency. It makes no sense since it all originated the same way regardless of who deposits it, but I digress. Sam Chapman of New Economy Consulting had the following to say about the figures being released:
"This is just the tip of the cannabis tax revenue iceberg that will benefit Oregonian's across the state. As other products such as edibles and concentrates become available to the general public we expect this number to continue to rise." - Sam Chapman, New Economy Consulting