Oregon Bill Would Allow Cities To More Than Triple Their Marijuana Tax

KLCC public radio reports

Oregon lawmakers are considering a measure that could potentially allow cities and counties to more than triple their marijuana tax.

  The state of Oregon taxes recreational marijuana at a rate of 17 percent. The city or county where a cannabis shop is located can add another three percent tax on top of that, if local voters approve.

A bill scheduled for a vote Wednesday afternoon in the Oregon Senate’s Finance and Revenue Committee would allow municipalities, with voter approval, to hike the local tax rate up to 10 percent.

Riley Hill, the mayor of Ontario, Oregon, said his city needs more revenue to handle the influx of Idaho residents who cross the border to buy marijuana, adding congestion to local streets.

“The current average right now is about fifteen-hundred additional cars on our streets per day,” he said.

Some cities, such as Eugene, support the bill but object to an amendment that would require them to share 20 percent of their proceeds with their surrounding county.

“We don’t believe that’s equitable,” said Ethan Nelson, the intergovernmental relations manager for the City of Eugene.

Nelson said cities should not be in a position to charge a tax that is passed through to another governmental entity “without some safeguards as to how the money was used.”

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