Marijuana sales in Oregon are one bright spot in the state’s economy even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. In April, Oregon recorded $89 million in legal marijuana sales, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC).
Largest marijuana sales
April 2020 now stands as the month with the largest record of legal marijuana sales, which rose to 45 percent compared to 2019 sales. Cannabis proponents say the COVID-19 pandemic and the push for legalization could be the catalyst. So far, there has been a universal push for federal marijuana legalization across the US, with supporters saying it would generate tax revenue, create employment, and boost the economy.
Oregon’s recreational marijuana sales generate more than $100 million in tax revenue annually. The state takes 17 percent from retail cannabis sales while cities or counties apply a 3 percent tax, bringing the sales tax to 20 percent. During this pandemic, legal marijuana provided a steady stream of tax revenue, as many dispensaries remain open.
The legal cannabis sector flourished when other sources of tax revenue like personal income or state lottery revenues have become less predictable, as the economy struggles with the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. In Oregon and many other states, the government declared cannabis dispensaries “essential” service providers.
“There’s a reason why over 25 states have declared marijuana dispensaries to be essential services…Up until March there were almost a quarter-million people who worked in the industry,” said Earl Blumenauer, the Oregon lawmaker and a strong supporter of marijuana legalisation.
California set to strike more than 11,500 cannabis convictions
Meanwhile, in another recent cannabis-related development, Santa Clara County in California is set to expunge more than 11,500 marijuana convictions. This development comes in the wake of a continued widespread push for federal cannabis reform across the U.S.A.
Last week Wednesday, the Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Eric S. Geffon delivered the landmark action that saw over 11500 records struck and more than 9000 victims fully cleared.
In an official statement, the Presiding Judge said:
The Santa Clara County Superior Court is pleased to be able to order the record clearance of thousands of people today… We hope this process will provide a sense of closure to those individuals. Having a clear record also will assist those seeking employment, an issue that is especially important as businesses begin the process of reopening.
Whether anyone will follow Santa Clara’s lead remains a wait-and-see scenario. The order gives the victims a new lease of life as they reignite their self-esteem and seek employment with a clean record.