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Grants Pass City Council to Discuss Imposing a Marijuana Tax

Marijuana products in dispensaries could get pricier. That's because the Grants Pass City Council is thinking about adding a three percent tax to all marijuana products sold in stores.

Posted: May. 14, 2018 6:22 PM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Marijuana products in dispensaries could get pricier. That's because the Grants Pass City Council is thinking about adding a three percent tax to all marijuana products sold in stores. The tax would only affect three dispensaries in Grants Pass since only three technically fall in city limits. This is not the first time marijuana products in Grants Pass dispensaries would see a tax. In fact, the Grants Pass City Attorney said there used to be a 10 percent tax on those products a few years ago. That's until the state changed the law.

“The State legislature enacted new legislation that said local governments could not have a local tax on marijuana other than a tax of up to 3% and it must be enacted by voters," City Attorney, Mark Bartholomew said.

Right now, if you were to walk into a Grants Pass dispensary and buy something, customers would pay a 17 percent state tax. The Grants Pass City Council is discussing whether or not to add an additional three percent tax. Bartholomew said this tax could bring in thousands of dollars a year.

"The numbers are proprietary since they would directly reflect on business volume. However, we think it would be in order of about $15,000-$25,000 per retail store," Bartholomew said.

That comes out to between $45,000 and $75,000. Justin Shier is the co-owner of Forward Cannabis. He's all for a tax.

"I think it is good thing. I think with the stigma that's associated with cannabis the city kind of went out on a limb to let us operate here and I think that was in hopes to provide a positive impact on the community. I think within cannabis we are helping a lot of people but I think this is a better way in a more official capacity to provide for the community and I'm all for it," Shier added.

Ryan Stickler with Southern Oregon Cannabis Connection said customers don't want to pay more for their marijuana. He thinks if people knew what that money would fund, then they would support it.

"I think if you made it more tangible for people to see where exactly that money is going and see something actually change. It’s easy to have a broken road and until someone is going to have it fixed with said money and not see that broken road fixed. But if you see that broken road fixed and there's no potholes, than that's tangible," Stickler added.

Bartholomew said the city council would determine if those funds would go somewhere specific or to a general fund. If City Council decides to impose a tax, voters would be the ones to ultimately vote on for or against a tax in the November 2018 election.

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