Idaho’s $159,000,000 Gift to the City of Ontario
Data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission shows that legal marijuana shops in Ontario, Oregon, sold $9.6 million of marijuana products to adults in the month of May 2021.
That represents the second straight month of decline following the record $10.4 million sales in Malheur County in the month of March.
Within Malheur County, only Ontario allows for marijuana sales. But that may be changing next year. Activists with Legalize Malheur have submitted an initiative to end the sales ban in the unincorporated areas of Malheur County.
If approved, the Legalize Malheur initiative would appear on the November 2022 ballot and open up the opportunity to place a marijuana shop across the border from Weiser, Idaho, in an unincorporated village called Annex, as well as the outskirts of Ontario’s east side on Highway 201.
Another Oregon border town, Nyssa, is an incorporated community. Its ban on marijuana sales would remain regardless of the passage of the Legalize Malheur initiative. However, those activists are also considering a Legalize Nyssa initiative, which would bring marijuana shops that much closer to the towns in southwest Canyon County.
It’s well known that the bulk of marijuana purchases in Ontario are made by Idahoans. During our signature collection for the Idaho Medical Marijuana Act at one of Ontario’s shops, we saw Idahoans from at least sixteen different counties, even as far away as Jefferson County, a five hour one-way drive.
With Oregon’s twenty percent tax on marijuana sales, in 2021 alone Idahoans have contributed the bulk of $9.5 million in tax revenue to the Beaver State, with $1.4 million going directly to the city of Ontario. How much longer will Idaho continue to pour tax revenue into other states?