The economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis will undoubtedly be felt for years. With more than 30 million Americans newly unemployed and all but the most essential businesses shut down in the meantime, most industries are in a downturn. One sector that was spared and almost seems to be thriving during the crisis is the cannabis sector.
For years, one of the main arguments for legalizing marijuana has been the tax revenue states stand to earn from sales. With the coronavirus pandemic tearing across the country and most public coffers stretched thin, such revenue would be a godsend. Oregon, for instance, has had a very lucrative legal cannabis industry this year. In March, adult-use and medical marijuana stores in the state sold $84 million in product, a record for any other month.
In April, Oregon saw $89 million in legal marijuana sales, the second record-breaking sales month in a row and a 45% increase from last year, making April the most lucrative month on record for the state. According to data from Oregon Liquor Control, cannabis sales jumped 30% from March 2019 followed by a massive 65% year-over-year sales increase from March 16 to March 21 right before lockdown measures were issued. The state collects 17% tax on retail cannabis sales and counties and cities can apply a 3% tax. In total, Oregon’s annual tax revenue from recreational marijuana sales exceeds $100 million.
The coronavirus is majorly responsible for this increase in marijuana sales. As states began to lock down, recreational cannabis users as well as medical marijuana patients started stocking up for an indeterminate period of self-isolation, leading to the 65% year-over-year sales increase for the week of March 15 to March 21. And like most states that allow cannabis, Oregon later designated cannabis as an essential industry, allowing adult use stores and medical marijuana dispensaries to continue operating despite the lockdown orders.
The industry has adapted to the new conditions presented by the coronavirus crisis, with online ordering, curbside pickups and home deliveries becoming the new norm. The fact that it is enjoying record sales while other industries are being severely affected by the economic downturn shows just how beneficial a legal cannabis program can be to Oregon’s economic recovery.
“There’s a reason why over 25 states have declared marijuana dispensaries to be essential services. These are things people can rely on,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer says.
These figures coming from Oregon are seen as good news to sector players like Plus Products Inc. (CSE: PLUS) (OTCQX: PLPRF) who hope that the critics of the industry will start turning around and acknowledge that there is a lot of good that cannabis can do, and is doing, for society.
CNW420 spotlights the latest developments in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry through the release of two informative articles each business day. Our concise, informative content serves as a gateway for investors interested in the legalized cannabis sector and provides updates on how regulatory developments may impact financial markets. Articles are released each business day at 4:20 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Eastern – our tribute to the time synonymous with cannabis culture. If marijuana and the burgeoning industry surrounding it are on your radar, CNW420 is for you! Check back daily to stay up-to-date on the latest milestones in the fast -changing world of cannabis.
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