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Oregon's billion-dollar weed economy faces new challenges
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Story by Zane Sparling, Portland Tribune - Story Source
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  Challenges of the Oregon's cannabis industry Weed industry in Oregon  
 
PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — They've never been higher.

Oregon recreational marijuana sales have climbed to record highs, but some say the industry's woes also have reached an apex. The difficulties range from an unfavorable federal tax code to a dangerous crime wave, wildfires, and cities and counties hungry for a larger slice of the tax pie.

"Businesses are still struggling," says Kim Lundin, executive director of the Oregon Cannabis Association. "High sales don't transfer to overall industry success." But the marijuana milestone — $1.1 billion in sales in 2020, blowing past the $795 million benchmark set in 2019 — has started a battle for cash at the state Capitol regardless.

Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, has advanced legislation that would allow cities and counties to bump their marijuana sales tax from 3% to as much as 10%. Another proposal authored by Rep. Lily Morgan, R-Grants Pass, would create an internal wholesale tax on any marijuana transported across county lines.

The temptation to backfill shrinking local budgets with cannabis dollars is worrisome, according to industry boosters.

"If you look at it holistically," said cannabis economist Beau Whitney, "I think the Oregon market is under duress."

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