Clearing the smoke on the pot tax

Chuck Sheketoff

It’s 4/20. For some, this date may trigger the often-asked questions: How much revenue is the tax on marijuana generating? And what’s it being spent on?

Oregon’s state tax on marijuana brought in about $67 million in the 12-month period through February 2017.

That’s more revenue than state officials expected , but it’s still small trimmings in terms of Oregon’s revenue sources. To put it in perspective, the state tax on pot is bringing in less than 1 percent of the amount that the personal income tax —the biggest source of revenue for the General Fund (the “state budget”) — generates in a year .

The revenue from the state tax on pot does not flow to the General Fund. Instead, the money is dedicated for specific uses. Forty percent goes to grow the size of the Common School Fund; the earnings generated by the Fund go to schools. The rest of the state tax on marijuana goes to mental health treatment, drug abuse prevention, and law enforcement programs at both the state and local level.

There you have it.

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at

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