Supporters of a cannabis legalization bill in Oregon believe the measure would create a more favorable business climate than the recreational systems in Washington State and Colorado.
Dave Kopilak, a Portland attorney who helped draft New Approach Oregon’s legalization initiative, told the Oregonian that the bill’s proposed tax model is better for entrepreneurs.
Kopilak said the tax burden on cannabis businesses in Oregon would be less than it is in Colorado and Washington, which would allow retail cannabis stores to better compete with the black market.
Oregon’s proposed system would tax marijuana by weight early in the production process, instead of at the retail end. Under New Approach Oregon’s plan, producers would pay $35 in taxes per ounce on marijuana flowers, $10 an ounce for marijuana leaves and $5 per seedling.
Washington, on the other hand, implements a 25% taxes at three levels: from the grower to processor, the processor to retail shop, and the store to the consumer. The combined tax rate, therefore, can hit 75%.
“It’s hard to see how people make money in Washington on this,” Kopilak told the Oregonian.
New Approach Oregon recently collected enough signatures to put the legalization plan on the November ballot.
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, has called Oregon’s effort the organization’s top priority. He also said the bill is the “new gold standard” in recreational cannabis legislation.