Oregon - Phoenix Will Not Tax Medical Marijuana

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City Council members agreed this week they would not impose a tax on medical marijuana, but would seek a fee for recreational marijuana sales. While the city's only medical marijuana dispensary, The Greenery, was forced to closed its doors this summer by court injunction, Mayor Jeff Bellah said the council did not agree with the idea of taxing medical cannabis. However, if recreational marijuana is legalized by voters in November, Bellah said, a 10 percent tax would be in place to allow the city to recover any costs incurred by the addition of marijuana-based facilities in the city.

"The council is in agreement we shouldn't make money on medical marijuana but we do need a way to cover our expenses," Bellah said. Bellah said the city was not obligated to tax recreational cannabis, but city officials "wanted to have something in place before the election" to allow the tax to be implemented at a later date. With most cities around the valley and state grappling with how to manage – and whether to tax – marijuana dispensaries, Bellah said, "no one knows what the right answer is, but the best we can do is try to prepare and have our ordinances in place."

To that end, a yearlong moratorium on establishing dispensaries will remain in effect for now, he said. Elsewhere, Talent opted not to tax medical marijuana but could tax recreational pot by up to 15 percent if Oregon voters legalize recreational marijuana in November. In Gold Hill, council members have approved a 10 percent tax – which could grow to as much as 25 percent – on recreational pot. A 5 percent tax is already in place for the city's lone medical marijuana dispensary, Breeze Botanicals.

Central Point voted recently for a 5 percent tax on medical and 10 percent on recreational marijuana. Medford City Council is considering a tax ranging from 6 to 18 percent but has not set out specifics on what the tax would be on medical versus recreational pot. Andrea Adams, director of The Greenery, applauded the council's stance on medical marijuana despite a contentious debate on re-opening her facility.

"The Greenery supports equal treatment to medical marijuana patients," Adams said in an email.-"Other medicines are not taxed, and we don't believe that cannabis should be, either. We are glad that the Phoenix City Council seems to agree." Phoenix City Manager Steve Dahl said Phoenix would revisit the issue and likely pass the tax on recreational marijuana at an Oct. 6 council meeting.

Dahl said lifting of the moratorium would hinge on future council discussion but could happen prior to the moratorium's May 2015 expiration. "At this point, we will still have a moratorium on all sales within the city of Phoenix," Dahl said. "That is not changing. What we're doing is going through the process to ensure we could have a legally operating dispensary in the city of Phoenix when the time comes. "I think it's their goal to lift the moratorium once they have everything in place, but that decision has yet to be made." The city still has a pending court date, Dahl noted, during which a Jackson County judge will determine whether the city was legal in ordering closure of The Greenery. Dahl said the facility was not legally operating with a state license and that it violated the city's moratorium.



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Source: Mailtribune.com
Author: Buffy Pollock
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Website: Phoenix will not tax medical marijuana - News - MailTribune.com - Medford, OR