OR Cities to Push Legislature on Local MJ Taxes

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One of the ways backers of recreational cannabis sales in Oregon planned to fight the black market was by prohibiting local governments from enacting their own taxes or fees on the rec industry.

But if the League of Oregon Cities has its way, the state Legislature will overturn that provision in the new law.

The league announced this week that it will ask state lawmakers to amend Measure 91, the ballot initiative approved earlier this month, to allow at least 70 cities interested in implementing their own various taxes on top of the state sales tax, thereby driving up the cost of legal marijuana for consumers.

The taxes written into Measure 91 were a deliberate move by the authors of the measure to combat black market sales, but would also put Oregon in a good position to compete with the Washington State rec market, which has a tax rate so high that illegal marijuana has been kept alive and well.

As the Oregon law stands, marijuana producers would be taxed $35 an ounce on all flowers, $10 an ounce for leaves and $5 for immature plants.

A number of Oregon cities also passed pre-emptive sales taxes for recreational marijuana in advance of the November vote to try and have their taxes grandfathered in.

The league also plans to ask lawmakers to let city councils and county commissions to ban recreational sales, instead of requiring a vote of the people to do so.