City Parks May Benefit From Proposed Recreational Marijuana Tax

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Parks in Brookings could be the winners if the city council decides at its Monday meeting to allocate anticipated tax revenue garnered from the sale of recreational marijuana to maintenance and improvements of the city’s assets.

That revenue, however, is also contingent on voters approving a ballot question Nov. 8 that asks for a 3 percent tax on recreational pot. The state currently charges a 25 percent sales tax, but that will be reduced to 17 percent at some point. A date has yet to be set.

Based on seven months of data provided by one of the city’s three marijuana dispensary owners who opened his books to city officials, Brookings could garner as much as $43,000 a year if voters approve the 3 percent tax.

The council acknowledged, too, that that figure could decrease if Californians approve a ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana. It is believed that many sales are made to Californians who come to Oregon to purchase the herb.

How any tax revenue generated by those sales would be spent, however, has yet to be decided. It is not specified on the ballot question, and if the council decides not to designate the funds to any given department, money would stay in the general fund.

“We need to be able to tell the public something,” said City Manager Gary Milliman told the city council in a workshop Tuesday evening.

He presented four options for the council to consider, including park maintenance, park improvements, assisting the proposed recreation center or Salmon Run golf course with its expenses.

City Councilor Brent Hodges said local dispensary owners said they don’t care where it goes, as long as it “paints us in a good light.”

“They said, they’d ‘like it if we can kick back to the community; we’re good with that,’” Hodges said.

Councilor Bill Hamilton said he’d like to spend the money on much-needed sewer and water infrastructure repairs.

“Infrastructure is the primary thing with me,” he said. “I’m worried about our pipes, especially with that thing (sinkhole) happening in Harbor.”

The majority of the council agreed that money spent on parks maintenance would be well-spent, as the recreational marijuana tax would not just be collected by city taxpayers – but also those who live unincorporated county areas and use the parks and the roads to access them.

The issue is slated to be discussed at Monday’s city council meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall on Elk Drive.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: City Parks May Benefit From Proposed Recreational Marijuana Tax
Author: Jane Stebbins
Contact: 541-469-3123
Photo Credit: AP
Website: Curry Coastal Pilot