The City of Ontario has now generated over $205 million in marijuana sales since its first state-regulated cannabis stores opened in July 2019. The $9.5 million sales for the month of October put Malheur County over the mark.
While marijuana is legal throughout Oregon, marijuana businesses are largely banned on the eastern side of the state. Ontario voters in 2018 voted to overturn the city’s ban. Ontario remains the only city in Malheur County to allow for marijuana sales.
Nine marijuana shops are now operating in Ontario. In 2021, these shops have sold an average of $9.5 million per month, ranging from a low of $8 million in February to a high of $10.4 million in March.
It is an open secret that the vast majority of that marijuana is being sold to Idahoans who drive from as far across the state as Idaho Falls—a five hour one-way trip—to legally purchase marijuana, then illegally smuggle it back to Idaho.
But that may be changing. The first marijuana dispensary to open up on Idaho’s southern border began operations in mid-October, just 45 minutes south of Twin Falls in the border town of Jackpot, Nevada. It is a closer destination for those eastern Idaho travelers, and is the first shop on Idaho’s border to be open 24 hours a day. We will see how that affects Ontario’s sales.