October Sales: What really lies ahead

Obviously rushing to sales in October meant some speed bumps ahead, but it always seemed like the benefits far outweighed the costs. However, now I’m realizing that one of these costs is clarity. In trying to update and confirm the status on October sales, I’ve come across some confusing legislature.

Senate Bill 460, the bill allowing October sales, mentions nothing about taxation during this time period. There are stipulations – for example, recreational users 21 and over, may only buy up to a quarter ounce per day (per dispensary). That’s not a bad guideline, but it turns out that there will be quite a bit of tax on this weed. Maybe?

According to oregon.gov’s FAQ page on recreational marijuana, there will be a 25% tax to pay in dispensaries. The answer to the question of taxation continues: “Recreational sales in medical dispensaries are slated to start on October 1, 2015, and end on December 31, 2016.The tax will be imposed on sales after January 4, 2016.” I had already known of this possibility of tax-free weed and believed it, but here it’s mentioned so briefly. Does this 25% tax really start as late as January, even though it says that the “tax will be 25% for the limited time that recreational marijuana will be sold in dispensaries?”

That seems so straightforward – 25% tax for recreational sold in dispensaries. This starts in October and lasts until a predicted December 31st, 2016. This is already a limited amount of time, but the “after January 4, 2016” undercuts 3 months of that. However, despite that brief mention at the end, that sentiment suggests yes, tax-free weed.

That said, dispensaries are getting ready to take advantage of this opportunity for profit. I’ve already been made aware of the fact that some dispensaries will only be showing their buyers the “bottom shelf shwag,” as we say. Thousands of people who have never seen something like a dispensary will have this skewed perception of bud, and be paying extra for it. Not to mention, there will be a limit to only “4 units” of non-flower marijuana product. You can only buy seeds, flower, and clones (a marijuana plant that is not flowering). No concentrates, no edibles or drinkables, just cold, dry, flower.

Just kidding – it’s really not that bad, but once January hits, that 25% will be rough. When there’s no overlap of recreational retail stores, still predicted for open in July, 2016, it’ll be especially bad. When those retail stores open, the taxes will be around 17-20%, much less than the dispensary prices. But I’m predicting that right around May, all the dispensaries will start showing off, to keep the recreational crew coming. December 31st, 2016 marks the end of recreational sale in dispensaries, so they’ll have to use these upcoming months wisely. Keep an eye out for that bottom shelf, and growing your own is still the best way!

Recreational News: October sales mean future taxes

We’re coming up on the third week of July, and by now our honeymoon phase with recreational marijuana is coming to an end. There have been celebrations aplenty, and you have probably consumed lots and lots of weed in homes and private property. Hooray! Have you been gifting and being gifted marijuana like the considerate stoner you are? Or has it slowed down quite a bit since all the energized excitement seems to have fizzled out into a complacent happiness?

Retail shops seem farther away than ever with the OLCC still predicting that stores won’t open until July, 2016. Maybe your seeds have taken root, but you won’t know if you have a flower-producing female plant until a couple of weeks down the line. So what are you going to do now?

There have been rumors about dispensaries opening up to sell recreationally before the January, 2016 date of accepting retail applications. How accurate are these rumors? Pretty darn accurate, it seems. With the approval of House Bill 2041 , marijuana sold in recreational retail stores will be taxed up the wazoo (approximately 20%). That’s in 2016, though, when we can actually buy marijuana in retail stores. Right now, in 2015, there are none. However, legislation has passed (not yet made law) an “early sales” bill! Senate Bill 460 allows for dispensaries to temporarily sell adults recreational weed, and it’ll be in effect for October 1st. Not bad, Oregon! Only a three-month turnaround from when marijuana was officially legalized. But don’t get too excited just yet…

Due to the fact that Measure 91 taxes marijuana in retail stores, recreational marijuana bought in dispensaries will not be taxed this additional 20%. Is it truly as good as it seems? Tax-free recreational weed? House Bill 2041 has another idea – if/when Senate Bill 460 is made into law and early sales occur, the tax on recreational weed in retail stores will jump up to 25% (that’s 5% more wazoo!!). This means that during the months from October to when we have recreational retailers, it’s time to stock up on that non-taxed weed. As soon as retail stores are up and running, they will obviously have to comply with that taxation. A $170 ounce will cost you an additional $42 – basically $1.50 extra per gram. That $42 extra marks a huge difference in quality – you’re looking at the difference between a $6-a-gram ounce and an $8-a-gram ounce in what you’re paying for taxes alone.

If you’re a quality nut and you don’t want to pay 25% on top of your product, then there’s really only one thing to do. You know that saying, if you want something done right, do it yourself? Well, if you want something done right (and to also legally avoid retail taxes on recreational marijuana), grow it yourself. Get your green thumb ready for 2016, and think of future-you’s fulfillment when you have your own self-sustaining cannabis garden!