Oregon Will Send $85M To Schools And More From Cannabis Tax

By Chris Lehman (OPB)
Salem, Oregon Oct. 6, 2017 11:15 p.m.

The Oregon Department of Revenue is getting ready to distribute $85 million in cannabis tax revenue to cities, counties and several state agencies.

It's the first distribution since a tax on recreational cannabis sales kicked in Jan. 4, 2016.


The money will be distributed by Oct. 11, according to the Oregon Department of Revenue. The agency is splitting up the cash according to a set of state laws that govern the process. The largest single amount — $34 million — will be deposited in the State School Fund.

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The rest will be divided up among several state agencies, including the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon State Police, with an emphasis on mental health, alcoholism and drug treatment programs.

Another $17 million will be divided among Oregon’s cities and counties, using a complicated formula that depends in part on the number of licensed cannabis businesses in each locale.


The Department of Revenue won’t be publicly disclosing the amount sent to specific municipalities. A spokesperson for the agency, Joy Krawczyk, said distribution amounts would be reported annually by region.

On Friday, it wasn’t clear even to recipients of the cash how much money would be coming their way.

“We don’t have a clue,” said Harvey Bragg, the senior deputy county administrator for Jackson County.

The southern Oregon county is an industry hotbed with 220 recreational cannabis license holders, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Bragg said the county did some back-of-the-envelope projections earlier this year, but leaders were unsure of what to expect.

“We didn’t even budget for it,” he said.

In addition to the $85 million that is being distributed, another $9.6 million is being applied toward the administrative costs incurred by both the Oregon Department of Revenue and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

Those payments were authorized by a separate state law.

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