OR: Cities Consider Taxing Or Banning Marijuana Sales


Voters across Douglas County are looking at either banning marijuana facilities from their cities, or enforcing a 3 percent tax on marijuana sales.

Canyonville and Sutherlin are asking voters whether they should ban marijuana shops altogether. Others – including Roseburg, Myrtle Creek and Drain – are looking to place a sales tax on recreational marijuana sales.

The state charges a 17 percent tax for businesses that are licensed under the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Medical marijuana dispensaries that are selling recreational marijuana during the early start period – which runs through Dec. 31 this year – still need to collect the temporary 25 percent tax, Oregon Department of Revenue spokeswoman Joy Krawczyk said.

Meanwhile, medical marijuana is not taxed at all.

From the state taxes, cities and counties will each get 10 percent of the recreational marijuana tax revenue. Oregon Measure 91, which legalized marijuana in 2014, says that money is for law enforcement, but it does not specify what kind of law enforcement activities.

That would be a question for the city or county, Krawczyk said in an email to The News-Review.

Roseburgs Measure 10-146 will place a 3 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana sales.

The city had previously raked in 10 percent sales tax when marijuana became legal in the state in 2014, city recorder Sheila Cox said, but state legislation shot that down.

It was very strange, Cox said. We had actually passed an ordinance implementing a tax, but then we had to go around and repeal that ordinance.

Now the state has opened the door to allow city sales tax on recreational marijuana, but with a limit of 3 percent.

The city does not know how much money that sales tax will bring in, Cox said.

Theres absolutely no way whatsoever to even guess – even the state would admit that it could only make a wild guess as to how much revenue it will bring in! she wrote in an email to The News-Review.

That has not stopped other cities from venturing a guess. Bend, for instance, expects to make $345,000 annually from its 3 percent sales tax, The Bulletin reported Thursday. That is based on marijuana tax receipts submitted to the state.

Roseburg has not garnered any sales tax from marijuana so far, Cox said, because there are no licensed recreational dispensaries working in the city.

Sutherlin voters have a chance to bar all medical and recreational marijuana shops from its city altogether.

If residents vote against measure 10-153, they will prohibit such facilities in city limits. They will also block any state marijuana tax revenues from city coffers.

If passed, the measure will allow retail stores in Sutherlin. It could then collect state tax revenues.

A spokesman with the Oregon Department of Revenue was unable to determine if the city could then implement its own local sales tax without voter approval. Mayor Todd McKnight was also unsure.

Weve still been figuring out how (marijuana) will be regulated and how taxes will work from it, McKnight said. My thought was to put it out there and let the citizens of Sutherlin decide how businesses like that will be able to operate in Sutherlin.

Like Roseburg, Myrtle Creek residents have a chance to put a 3 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana through Measure 147.

The city had also charged a 10 percent sales tax in the past, but the city had to rescind the tax when state legislation changed.

Mayor Ken Brouillard said the city decided to allow recreational facilities following a series of hearings and public meetings. Even so, marijuana shops are only allowed in a couple of zones.

The city does not have any licensed shops so far, according to Oregon Liquor Control Commission records.

Like Sutherlin, Canyonville voters have the chance to block both medical and recreational marijuana facilities in its city through two measures, 10-148 and 10-149.

And like the Sutherlin mayor, Canyonville city recorder Dawn Bennett was unsure as to whether the city could implement a local sales tax if the voters decide they want marijuana shops in their city.

I dont think we have to put (a sales tax measure) on the ballot, she said. We will have to do a resolution of some sort.

But the taxes that Oregon gets, we dont get, because we do not have a police force, she added.

Thats because Oregon Measure 91 says cities have to use state tax revenues for law enforcement purposes.

Voters in Drain are looking at a measure that will place a sales tax on marijuana items.

Still, Measure 10-151 does not define the amount of that percent. The city can charge between 1 and 3 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana purchases.

The city could later set the amount of the sales tax, not exceeding the state-mandated 3 percent ceiling.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Cities Consider Taxing Or Banning Marijuana Sales
Author: April Ehrlich
Contact: 541-672-3321
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Website: The News-Review