Oregon dispensaries are already required to include taxes on recreational marijuana sales, and now Salem is thinking about getting some skin in the game.
The city of Salem is highly considering a marijuana tax of its own.
As it stands right now, recreational marijuana is accessible for legal purchase in medical marijuana dispensaries. The state currently charges a 25 percent tax on those sales in addition to the original price.
It’s expected, that by the end of the year the tax rate is set to decrease to 17 percent when the OLCC starts allowing licensed stores to sell recreational marijuana only.
Katu quotes Sam Chapman, of New Economy Consulting, who has helped write marijuana legislation in Oregon, “Oregon currently has the lowest effective tax rate in the country for states that have legalized cannabis for adult use”.
Oregon law permits cities and counties to add a tax of up to three percent on top of the state tax, which Salem is contemplating.
If the proposal is approved by the city council at its next meeting on April 11, voters in Salem will have the final say and get to decide the fate of the tax proposal in November. If approved by voters it would go into effect in January.
“I personally agree with it, you know, if you’re willing to buy recreational you should be willing to pay the taxes,” said Dane Caccamise, a budtender at the Cherry City Compassion dispensary in Southeast Salem. “I think it’s silly that people get so upset that there’s tax on it because it’s going to a good cause.”
Oregon medical marijuana patients on the other hand may have a slightly different outlook. “They’re getting’ a little greedy, I think, honestly,” said Nora Atkinson, a medical marijuana patient. “Right now we’re kind of early in the game and I’d like to see it stay where it’s at for a little bit and see what we can do with that first. Show me what you’ve got first and then maybe we’ll give you more.”
Chapman told KATU a considerable amount of cities throughout the state are considering similar plans.
In regards to a possible recreational marijuana tax in Portland, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who manages the city’s marijuana policy, sent KATU an email saying, “I am looking at options and discussing with my colleagues on the Council. No plan yet.”
Authorities say 40 percent of the revenue from the state tax is allocated to schools, 20 percent to mental health alcoholism and drug services, 15 percent to state police, five percent to the Oregon Health Authority for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, and 20 percent is split between cities and counties for enforcement of marijuana regulations.
(Photo Courtesy of marijuanapolitics.com)