Jackson County voters said yes to imposing taxes on marijuana.
The Mail Tribune reports on Tuesday’s vote, which as of 8 p.m. was winning by 64 percent. The vote gives county officials the OK to impost up to a 25 percent tax on marijuana sales in the county.
Staff writer Thomas Moriarty reports that the tax applies to unincorporated areas of the county. Medford, Ashland, Central Point and Gold Hill already approved additional taxes on cannabis sales.
Moriarty reports that although Oregon’s new marijuana law says local governments may not tax marijuana sales, “many city and county governments have imposed taxes anyway, arguing that they’d be grandfathered in if passed before July and that the taxes are needed to pay for the local social impacts of legalization.”
Oregonian senior political writer Jeff Mapes wrote recently about Oregon cities’ efforts to push for a major rewrite of the marijuana law. Cities want to be able to tax marijuana sales and to ban retail outlets in their communities.
David Fidanque, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, which helped draft Measure 91, has been one of the leading critics of local taxation in the wake of the measure’s passage, arguing that it will create a “hodgepodge” of regulation that will help the black market retain its appeal.
“The yin and the yang of this is that if the goal is to eliminate the criminal market, the price of recreational marijuana needs to be relatively low,” Fidanque said Tuesday. “If the local governments feel that funds are not going where they need to go, they can appeal to the Legislature to change the allocations or the percentages of the allocations.”
— Noelle Crombie