By Joseph Ditzler

The Bulletin

The Oregon Department of Revenue collected $25.5 million in tax from the sales of recreational marijuana this year as of July 31, the department announced Monday.

That represents $102 million in total sales thus far this year. The state collects a 25 percent tax on sales of recreational marijuana. That figure drops to 17 percent in 2017, although local governments may impose their own tax of up to 3 percent. For example, the Bend City Council approved a measure on the Nov. 8 ballot asking residents to vote on a 3 percent sales tax.

The latest state figure shows an increase of $10.6 million over the amount of taxes collected through May, according to the Revenue Department. Through May, the tax collected averaged $3 million per month. The total average tax collected jumped to $5.3 million per month during June and July, according to department numbers.

“That’s what we’ve been seeing,” Joy Krawczyk, Revenue Department spokeswoman, said Monday. “We’re not really sure what to attribute that to yet. Returns for the second quarter were due Aug. 1, so until we have a chance to process those and run those numbers, we won’t have anything to attribute to that increase.”

The Oregon Legislature approved early sales of limited quantities of recreational marijuana that started in October while the Oregon Liquor Control Commission issues licenses to recreational marijuana businesses.

The program ends Dec. 31. The state began taxing the sale of recreational marijuana in January.

Adding to sales of dried marijuana flower, edible products containing a maximum 15 milligrams of the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana became legal for adults age 21 and over in June. Also, dispensaries are allowed to sell 1-gram containers of extract to any adult.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, which regulates medical marijuana dispensaries, 336 of 380 dispensaries take part in early sales of recreational marijuana. In Bend, 15 dispensaries sell recreational marijuana.

Krawczyk said late filers of sales tax returns have delayed the release of detailed sales statistics for Oregon counties that permit recreational marijuana sales. That information may be coming soon, she said, since the department has estimated the tax those late filers would pay, based on earlier sales data.

“We weren’t able to assess (all sales) until the end of July,” Krawczyk said. “Our research department now has a full data set to work with.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815,