6 Necessary Steps When Oregon Pot Sellers Pay Taxes With Cash

Image courtesy of DEARTH !

As we’ve discussed in the past, even in states where recreational marijuana is now legal, businesses are still figuring out how the heck to handle their financial obligations like banking and paying taxes, as the drug remains a Schedule I controlled substance in the eyes of the federal government. Oregon has now figured out a safe way for weed dealers to pay the taxes they owe the state, and the process sounds like something out of a movie.

In the first two months of the year, Oregon brought in $6.84 million in recreational pot sales — which is more than twice the $3 million that had been projected for the entire year, the Associated Press reports.

But collecting that money is a complicated process, especially when more than half of the state’s dealers are paying their taxes with cash. The popularity of cash tax payments is because dealers, as in other states, are having a hard time accessing traditional banking methods.

In order to accommodate those people safely, the Oregon Department of Revenue set up a spot at its Salem headquarters that acts like the Impenetrable Fortress in keeping the general public out, and keeping those inside safe.

There’s quite a few steps in getting the cash from the hands of the dealers into the hands of the state. The AP got a rundown of the process, which we find kind of fascinating in a “isn’t this a scene in Casino?” way. Sit back, and pretend Robert DeNiro is narrating.

1. Dealers call the Marijuana Tax Program hotline and make an appointment, and are asked to fill out a voucher with the business’ details and bring it to the appointment for the state’s record-keeping.

2. Once they arrive at the Department of Revenue, the pot dealers — toting their cash in a duffel bag, briefcase, laundry hamper or whatever they choose to transport it in — take an elevator to an upper floor.

3. Upon their arrival, pot dealers pick up a phone on the wall and dial a five-digit number, as a sign instructs, which confirms their appointment. They’re buzzed through a door.

4. At the Cash Transaction Unit, the cash carrier steps up to a window similar to those frequented by bank tellers, with security cameras, monitors, and a retired police officer watching.

5. Cash and the voucher are placed in a bullet-proof metal deposit drop, and a worker picks it up on the other side. The dealer then waits while a cash-counting machine does its job and workers upload the information.

6. The money goes into another bag and is carted off to an undisclosed area, where it will be picked up by an armored car and delivered to the state’s bank.

This happens on an almost daily basis, the AP notes, as pot dealers pay their taxes every month instead of quarterly. Those not paying in cash send payments through the mail by way of bank checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks.

Colorado and Washington have similar systems in place as well, but according the AP, officials are hesitant to discuss the process out of security concerns.

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How Oregon pot dealers pay taxes [Associated Press]

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