Anyone hoping to run a cannabis dispensary in Oregon will be required to prove they’ve paid their state taxes before receiving a license or having an existing license renewed, under changes announced by Gov. Tina Kotek on Tuesday.
That’s already a step that some Oregon agencies take before issuing licenses. But the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission doesn’t currently check to make sure applicants for cannabis retail licenses don’t have unpaid taxes, despite a higher percentage of nonpayment among cannabis businesses.
The lack of tax accountability has gotten attention in recent months, following reporting by Willamette Week that one large cannabis chain, La Mota, was allowed to expand across Oregon even as it racked up more than $1.5 million in unpaid state taxes.
The owners of that chain, Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell, became embroiled in scandal after news they’d hired then-Secretary of State Shemia Fagan as a consultant prompted her to resign. They’ve also been significant political donors to Kotek and other Democrats.