Cannabis sales in Oregon reached over $1 billion in 2020, setting a record for the state despite the ongoing pandemic.
Data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission shows cannabis sales jumped from $795 million in 2019 to the $1.1 billion sold in 2020. Sales began to rise in March when state Governor Kate Brown instituted a stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Sales increased by 20 percent for that month and continued to climb.
Sales surpassed $100 in one month for the first time in May and continued to climb for the following three months, with a high of over $106 in July. The state ended 2020 strong, totaling nearly $96 million sales in December.
Adult sales totaled over $1 billion alone, with the remaining nearly $110 million in sales coming from medical cannabis sales. After selling between $60-$70 million in medical cannabis the past three years, sales shot up more than $40 million to reach $109.2 million, a 58 percent increase from 2019.
Medical cannabis sales are not taxed in Oregon, but recreational sales carry a 17 percent state tax as well as a three percent local tax in most cases. State revenue is expected to be over $150 million, with much of it going to substance abuse screening and programs that address addiction. Measure 10, a new law that was passed in November, ensures the states uses a significant portion of the tax revenue on those programs. Measure 110 also decriminalized small amounts of all drugs, something Oregon had previously been planning.
“Legal cannabis sales levels have stayed fairly constant after a significant rise early in the pandemic, but we don’t know to what degree this will last,” said OLCC Spokesperson Mark Pettinger. “Does this reflect what other segments of our economy have experienced—expanding or contracting primarily because of the pandemic’s role as a market disrupter—or is this the new normal?”