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Local Officials To Take Pot Sales Tax Fight To Legislature In 2015

Just two weeks after Oregon voters passed Measure 91, which would allow adults in Oregon to grow, possess and sell marijuana under state regulation, local officials want to make sure their ordinances to tax the sale of pot will be valid.

The Oregonian reports that the League of Oregon Cities plans to ask lawmakers next year to amend the marijuana measure so cities can collect local taxes on recreational marijuana sales. Currently, the measure gives sole taxing authority to the state.

The Association of Oregon Counties hasn’t gotten involved with the issue yet, but will make a decision by next month.

“We are currently in the process of analyzing which tweaks we’d like to see done to Measure 91,” said Rob Bovett, legal counsel for AOC.

Section 42 of Measure 91 says: “No county or city of this state shall impose any fee or tax … in connection with the purchase, sale, production, processing, transportation, and delivery of marijuana items.”

And Section 58 emphasizes: “(State law) shall be paramount and superior to and shall fully replace and supersede any and all municipal charter enactments or local ordinances inconsistent with it.”

The newspaper reports that there’s also been talk of a special Senate-House committee that would consider questions on taxation and regulation, including how cities could opt out of retail sales without a general election vote. The measure passed by voters requires cities to vote on marijuana bans. 

So far, about 70 cities and four counties have passed ordinances in hopes of being grandfathered in before the law takes effect on July 1, 2015. Many followed the example set by Ashland, which would tax recreational marijuana at 10 percent and medical marijuana at 5 percent. Others, like Umatilla County and Coos Bay, opted to adopt higher taxes to deter pot shops from moving in.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include the total number of counties that have adopted tax ordinances.


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