OR: Owner Of Marijuana Shops In Eugene, Springfield Faces Federal Tax Evasion Charges

Photo Credit: Dylan Darling

One of the owners of mari­juana shops in Eugene and Springfield is accused of dodging more than $250,000 in federal taxes.

Matthew Price, 32, of Portland allegedly didn’t file federal income tax returns for four years and didn’t pay $262,776 in taxes, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He earned $976,349 from medical marijuana businesses from 2011 to 2014, according to court records.

Price is part owner of Canna­bliss & Co., which runs The Sorority House pot shop at 588 E. 11th Ave. near the University of Oregon and the Main Street Marijuana Dispensary at 2600 Main St. in Springfield. The Springfield store opened about two years ago.

The Eugene and Springfield Cannabliss shops sell recreational and medical marijuana. Both were open on Friday. Canna­bliss says it has five shops in Oregon, including a former firehouse in Portland.

Whitney Boise, Price’s attorney in Portland, declined to comment about the back taxes.

Oregon Liquor Control Commission officials will track the federal tax case, but as of Friday it hadn’t affected Cannabliss’ standing with the state, according to OLCC spokesman Mark Pettinger. The agency oversees recreational marijuana in Oregon.

He said Price has been on a marijuana rules advisory board and featured in an OLCC video about the industry.

“He’s been engaged,” Pettinger said. “He’s been involved. He’s been supportive of the regulatory system.”

The alleged tax crimes took place before Price became a licensed recreational marijuana retailer with the OLCC. His business had been focused on medi­cal marijuana.

Price earned $51,456 in 2011, $99,920 in 2012, $227,849 in 2013 and $597,124 in 2014, according to court records. But federal prosecutors say he didn’t file individual or corporate taxes when the taxes were due.

The money came from Cannabliss and a marijuana farmers’ market that Price used to own and operate under the same name, according to court records. The market also went by the name Cannabliss.

Price and a business partner opened The Sorority House near the UO in 2014, according to the records. The business is in the Windsor W. Calkins house, a Queen Anne-style house that was constructed in 1902. The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Price’s first court appearance in U.S. District Court in Portland is set for April 25, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.