EUGENE, Ore.– The vote to legalize marijuana in Oregon is just around the corner, and local governments are considering imposing a tax should Measure 91 pass in November. For the first time, Lane County commissioners will present their proposed ordinance.
They are calling for a county tax equal to 50% of the state tax rate under Measure 91.
Measure 91: $35 per ounce of flower buds, $10 per ounce of leaves, and $5 per ounce of immature plants.
Lane County Tax Proposal: $17.50 per ounce of flower buds, $5 per ounce of leaves, and $2.50 per ounce of immature plants.
Many voters are in favor of the potential revenue it will bring to Lane County.
“We are always looking for more money and it seems like an obvious place to get it. It’s a voluntary tax. You don’t have to smoke marijuana if you don’t want to, therefore, you’re voluntarily paying the tax. Tax it. Tax it heavy,” says Eugene resident Earl Dorman.
“I feel as long as the money goes to schools and safety, that’s fine. But not for administration,” adds Eugene resident Barbara Rodgers.
However, there is controversy surrounding what will be taxed. Measure 91 would only tax recreational marijuana, however, Lane County’s proposed tax would apply to both recreational and medical marijuana.
“Maybe the ones that are on medical can’t afford it anymore. If you’re doing it just for recreation then you can afford to pay,” said Rodgers.
Dorman adds, “For someone who truly needs it for medical, I’d be in favor of not taxing it, however I think there’s way too many medical marijuana cards out there for people who really don’t need it. So tax it all some and tax it heavier on the personal use.”
If Lane County’s tax is implemented, the tax would be in addition to state and city taxes, but there is a chance local taxes could go up in smoke. There’s a section in measure 91 banning counties and cities from imposing any fee or tax in connection with marijuana items. Local governments however are hopeful their taxes will be grandfathered in if they enact before election day.
The public is invited to Tuesday’s hearing at 9am at Harris Hall in Eugene.