Tax Revenue Claims Appear to be Hollow in Oregon

by Randy Philbrick, Director, SAM Oregon, Fighting Back Against Big Marijuana

“Oregon is reaping the reward with massive tax revenue ”

Yet another claim by legalizers that can’t be proven. Recreational sales started in October of last year, yet the tax only kicked in this past January. That’s three months of tax-free drug sales. In the first month of taxation, Oregon pulled in $3.5 million in tax revenue. In the February, the second month, it dropped to $3.3 for a two-month total of $6.8 million. I know what you’re thinking, “Man that’s great. That’s a lot of money”. Is it really!?  Yes, standing alone that amount seems like a lot of money. But when you put it next to the state’s operating budget of $60 billion , the measly $6.8 million now looks like our planet sitting next to Jupiter. If that trend stayed all year that would be $40 million for the year. Again, planet earth sitting next to Jupiter.

I can also tell you that trend won’t stay all year. As of this month, the tax on marijuana dropped from 25% to 17%. That’s a 32% reduction in the tax revenue.

Now let’s say that marijuana users bought exactly the same amount that they did in January; then the state would only pulls in $2.38 million. But wait, there’s more. Legalizers want to reduce the tax even more. They say that the tax is driving people back to the black market because it’s cheaper. Oregon voted on a ballot measure that said Tax and Regulate. They said that legalizing it would diminish the black market because people would be buying from retail stores. Ok, so we Taxed and Regulated it but people are still going to their regular dealers. Could it be that we were lied to, too? Could it be that taxation was never supposed to be?

Legalizers lied to Oregonians. We had big out-of- state money coming in and bankrolling the Yes on 91 campaign. We had a Congressional Representative saying that marijuana needed to be legalized, but he never gave a good reason.  The campaign brought in a county sheriff in Washington to say that all was fine and dandy in Washington after legalization, but the Washington State Sheriff Association asked that sheriff to retract his statements because they weren’t true.

Legalizers claimed that 12,000 people were in prison for simple possession. But Oregon State Police Public Information Officer Greg Hastings came out and said that was false. When you took out the people who had possession with another crime on their record that left only about 2,000 people in jail, not prison, for possession only. Some of those were in for possession of more than the one ounce that was decriminalized back in 1973, the rest were ones who pleaded guilty to possession to have other crimes removed.

Franklin HS
Franklin HS in Portland Oregon. Photo source: Wikipedia. The documentary film, Weed (2016) was filmed at Cleveland HS in Portland. Top photo by Randy Philbrick is in Sutherlin, Oregon.

The Truth is that Legalization was a terrible idea. The Truth is that marijuana-related DUI and traffic fatalities are going up. Teen use is going up, people are being fired for failed employee drug tests and the black market is thriving.  What? — all so we could get pocket change for tax revenue? Even if they did make the $40 million this year, Portland Public Schools forks out around $80 million a year just to pay their teachers. And right now they’re remodeling two schools and have more to do after those are done.  Roosevelt HS is costing $92 million right now, and that’s just a facelift.  Franklin HS is a much bigger and more expensive project.  Forty percent of $42 million is $16 million. Now divvy that up between the school districts that will be getting money, and Portland Public Schools might be able to buy toilets when they start remodeling Grant HS next year.

Legalization is not about Regulation and Taxation; it’s about unimpeded access to a drug without regard for health and safety.

Smoking Gun Email Reveals Truth

A smoking-gun email reveals prominent legalization activist’s apparent strategy to leverage political influence for profit:
The controversy surrounding prominent legalization advocate Travis Maurer and his wife Leah Maurer deepens.

Leah resigned from the Missouri legalization campaign after an email surfaced in which she appears to tell an investor that funding legalization campaigns was the best way to get a competitive advantage in profiting off of the marijuana market.  Read the story about her role in the Show-Me Cannabis’ group New Approach Missouri campaign.

In her own words: “My husband and I have demonstrated how being intimately and financially involved in marijuana campaigns is really how one is first to market. Being the driving force behind a campaign has proved to be invaluable because we have a seat at the table for rule making and implementation of the laws.”

I know, the Truth hurts but it needs to be said. Unfortunately people will get hurt and people will die before we have enough for a push back.  (A recent film exposes the extent of marijuana usage is at Cleveland High School in Portland.)