Oregon: Deschutes County to form cannabis advisory panel in order to receive state tax revenue

Deschutes County will now see marijuana tax revenue again thanks to a bill approved by the state Legislature this year.

The county has not received its share of the state’s marijuana tax revenue since 2019, when the Deschutes County Commission voted to prohibit new marijuana production and processing facilities. In the fall of 2020, residents voted to keep this moratorium by voting against a ballot measure that would have allowed new facilities in the rural part of the county.

But the state rule that governs how this money is allocated said a county must allow all licensed recreational marijuana activity in order to receive tax revenue, which meant once the county entered a moratorium on new processing and growing facilities, the county lost its right to the tax revenue.

House Bill 3295, which was sponsored by Rep. Jason Kropf, D-Bend, and Rep. Jack Zika, R-Redmond, changed this. The bill, which was designed to address Deschutes County’s unique circumstance, allows a county that bans a sector of the marijuana industry, after initially allowing it, a way to still receive tax dollars.

Now the county can receive tax revenue again from existing marijuana businesses, as long as the county creates a cannabis advisory panel.

The panel, which would be appointed by the County Commission, will recommend how the money is used. It will also be tasked with looking at ways to increase public safety around marijuana and talking about issues that crop up from the production and distribution of marijuana, according to the bill.

The panel must include two people who hold marijuana licenses in the county, someone from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, a county commissioner, a watermaster, a county representative knowledgeable about economic development and a member of the public, according to county documents.

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