Denizens of the Portland metro area bought 3,039,000 grams of marijuana, almost 6,700 pounds, between January 4, 2016 and March 31, 2016, according to a new report from the Oregon Department of Revenue.
People in the rest of the state bought 1,958,000 grams, a little more than 4,300 pounds, during the same time period.
Those numbers reflect the fact that the Portland metro area has a population of almost 2.4 million, which means more than half of the slightly over 4 million people in the state of Oregon live in the vicinity of Portland.
But, it also shows a little bit of a higher gram per person ratio in the Portland metro area. About 1.3 grams were sold per person in and around Portland during that time period, while, in the rest of the state, 1.2 grams were sold per person.
(Theoretically, of course. Everyone in the state of Oregon did not buy a gram of cannabis during the first quarter of 2016, especially because 24 percent of those people are under 18.)
The prices of those grams varied. The cheapest place to buy flower is the region called “Central/Gorge/Northeastern,” where it went for $8.19 a gram in the first quarter of 2016. The most expensive? The area surrounding Portland, where during that quarter it cost $9.42 a gram, a full dollar more than people were paying inside the Portland city limits.
But price didn’t keep people away. The report shows that in that quarter, people in Oregon legally bought $43,766,000 worth of cannabis products.
The total tax liability for marijuana businesses in the state during that time period was $13,455,202. The tax liability is slightly different than the total amount of payments received, since, the report says, “retailers retain two percent of taxes collected as a reimbursement for the cost of tax collections” and also, due to the newness of the program, some payments were made after they were due.
According to the report, from February to November of 2016, the state of Oregon received $54,506,832 in tax payments from cannabis businesses, with the most lucrative month being October, when the state brought in $7,831,157.
Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug at the federal level. And while these numbers show legal recreational pot is bringing in a substantial sum of money for the state of Oregon, the Trump administration has signaled that it might be less accepting of legal cannabis than the Obama administration was.
According to a new survey from the General Social Survey, in 2016 57 percent of Americans said they believe it should be legal to use weed.
Last week, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced a legislative package they hope will “preserve the integrity of state marijuana laws and provide a path for responsible federal legalization and regulation of the marijuana industry.”
And on Monday, Gov. Kate Brown joined governors from Alaska, Washington and Colorado, in sending a letter to U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. The four governors from states that have legal recreational pot are asking the federal government to consult with them before making changes to cannabis policy.