Directly from Oregon Liquor Control Commission
PORTLAND – The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is requesting the Legislature establish a 2015-2017 budget for the recreational marijuana program that calls for $10.5 million in costs to operate the program approved by voters last November and anticipates $18.4 million in revenue for the two-year period starting this July.
The requested $10.5 million budget calls for hiring and training 33 employees in the marijuana program beginning later this year. It also includes $1.9 million for the IT projects needed to issue licenses, collect taxes and a traceability (seed-to-sale) system. It also calls for an additional $636,000 for capital construction and $1.4 million to pay back money borrowed from the Liquor Fund to start the marijuana program during the current 2013-2015 budget period.
The budget, which will be presented to a Legislative Ways and Means Subcommittee on Thursday, includes an estimated $16 million in revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana and another $2.4 million from application and licensing fees. Revenue is based on estimates from the Legislative Revenue Office and could be affected by a number of factors, including how many local jurisdictions opt out of the program, the impact of tourism and the home grow/personal possession provisions of the new law.
Based on the experiences in Colorado and Washington and adjusted for differences in population, the agency anticipates receiving 2,000 license applications from commercial growers, processors, wholesalers and retail outlets during the first six months of the 2016, of which an estimated 1,300 are expected to be approved.
Home grow and personal possession of certain amounts of marijuana becomes legal beginning July 1 of this year. Under the measure approved by voters, the OLCC is required to begin accepting applications for commercial recreational licenses on January 4, 2016. Retail sales of recreational marijuana are expected to start in the third quarter of 2016.
“This requested budget reflects what the agency needs to implement recreational marijuana on time and on schedule,” said Steven Marks, OLCC executive director. “In addition to revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana expecting to exceed OLCC expenses, the requested budget for 2015-2017 also includes one-time start-up costs and efficiencies associated with integrating the marijuana program into existing alcohol programs, such as licensing, enforcement and financial management.”