The Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) plans to request for a $7 million in recreational cannabis taxes from state lawmakers during the 2019 session.
In Oregon, recreational cannabis sales tax money is split between many sectors of the state, including schools and state police. Since 2016, the state has collected over $180 million in cannabis tax revenue. The Oregon Department of Revenue is permitted to use a portion of this money to pay for cannabis-related enforcement or administration.
OLCC officials plan to ask the Department of Revenue to assist in providing the OLCC an additional $7 million of the cannabis tax revenue money. In response to this plan, OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks noted that the growth of the state’s cannabis industry has increased over the years, and more funding is necessary. “Our regulatory role over cannabis—recreational and now medical—as well as additional oversight responsibilities for hemp has greatly expanded the work of our agency,” Marks said in a statement to the Statesman Journal. “The governor’s office and legislature have been supportive partners during our most recent budget cycles, and we are looking forward to working with them to build in the capacity we clearly need.”
During the 2018 session, the OLCC received funding from legislators to create the state-run cannabis tracking program. According to OLCC Spokesman Mark Pettinger, this time around the organization will be specifically asking for more funding to support the jobs that were created to run and manage that system. This includes roles that must inspect cultivation areas, verifying proper tags for plants and also double-checking data to make sure that its current and correct—all of which takes constant vigilance. Not to mention how OLCC officials must operate according to the Oregon Health Authority’s rules, which according to Pettinger, requires OLCC employees to do “double duty.”