Will Pot Sales in Oregon Affect Washington Sales?
- Sales Tax News
- Oct 5, 2015 | Gail Cole
Vancouver, Washington, sits just north of the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, and many of the city’s roughly 170,000 residents work in the Portland area. In fact, Vancouver and Portland are “so closely linked that they are often tracked as a single metro area.” The cities’ close proximity is one reason that Oregonians have accounted for approximately half of the sales at Vancouver recreational marijuana shops since they opened.
And those sales are abundant. Vancouver’s six pot shops sold more marijuana than those in any other area of the state, even much more populous Seattle. Thanks to all those sales, Vancouver will receive more than $790,000 in recreational marijuana tax revenue over the course of the 2016 fiscal year.
But that may change now. On October 1, 2015, it became legal for medical marijuana shops in Oregon to sell “small amounts of recreational marijuana.” Although it will be months before the state’s first recreational pot shops open, Oregonians now no longer need to cross the Columbia in order to legally purchase pot. Some 200 of the state’s 345 medical marijuana dispensaries have told the Oregon Health Authority they plan to sell recreational marijuana.
In addition to cutting commute times, Oregonians have another reason to buy their bud in their home state: for the next several months, the marijuana they purchase in Oregon is being sold tax free. The 25% tax on retail sales of marijuana won’t be charged until January 4, 2016.