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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Continues To Rake In Marijuana Tax Revenue

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network
Loren Kruesi operates the 2nd Step Dispensary in Salem along with his wife, Val, left, and daughter, KC, right.

Taxes from marijuana sales continue to outpace expectations in Oregon. The state Department of Revenue Wednesday said the state has collected nearly $7 million in pot taxes so far this year.

Loren Kruesi said business at his Salem marijuana store didn't slow down a bit when a 25 percent tax kicked in in January.

"In fact, we're climbing as usual,” Kruesi said.

Kruesi said he's sending about $20,000 in sales taxes to the state each month. He said paying those taxes helps marijuana entrepreneurs like him become part of mainstream society.

"We just want to have a normal relationship with our city and our community,” Kruesi said.

Marijuana tax revenue in Oregon is split among schools, law enforcement and drug treatment programs. But the first chunk of cash will go to cover the costs of overseeing the state's recreational marijuana program.

The current tax on recreational marijuana took effect January 4, 2016. The 25 percent state tax is in effect until the end of this year, when it drops to 17 percent. Local cities and counties will then be able to add an additional tax of up to three percent.

Areas that do not permit recreational marijuana facilities will not receive any distribution of pot tax revenue.