Oregon Expects 2,000 Applicants for Recreational MJ Licenses

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Oregon officials in charge of regulating the state’s up-and-coming recreational marijuana industry expect roughly 2,000 applicants to throw their hats in the ring for retail store, cultivation, processing and wholesale licenses in the first six months of next year.

Yet they envision approving just 1,300 of those applications – a success rate of only 65%.

These estimates are included in a budget request released Tuesday by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, offering a peek into what the state is expecting once recreational marijuana sales begin.

The commission expects Oregon to rake in $16 million in tax revenue from rec sales by mid-2017 and another $2.4 million in application and licensing fees starting in January, according to the budget request.

That estimate was worked out by the Legislative Revenue Office, based on sales numbers in Washington State and Colorado and adjusted for population. Spokesman Tom Towslee noted via email that the tax and fee projections are tied to the assumption that sales likely won’t begin until the third quarter of 2016.

The numbers would be much higher if Oregon moves forward on a proposal to allow existing MMJ dispensaries to start selling recreation cannabis this July.

The budget request asks the state Legislature for $10.5 million for the 2015-2017 fiscal year to hire 33 employees and startup costs.