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Big gap in tax revenue estimates for legal marijuana sales

Modified: Sunday, Aug 3rd, 2014

While voters are going to decide whether to legalize marijuana use in November, there is a multimillion dollar difference of opinion as to how much revenue would be generated if the ballot initiative gets approved.

A report this week from the Oregon Legislative Revenue Office estimates $16.03 million in tax revenue would be produced in the first year of legal marijuana sales.

A full report of all the components of the estimates and background and assumptions is forthcoming in (a) few weeks, said Mazen Malik, a senior economist with the revenue office, who provided the data.

By comparison, a projection from a firm hired by proponents of the ballot initiative found $38.5 million in revenue would be generated in the same period.

ECONorthwest produced the estimate for New Approach Oregon, the group behind the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act of 2014. The estimate was released last week.

The difference in projections apparently boils down to demand, largely because it is hard to imagine supply being an issue.

For the complete article see the 08-01-2014 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-01-2014 paper.

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