Two measures designed to put areas of Clatsop County under state limits for marijuana taxation went before voters Tuesday.
County voters approved Measure 4-193, which would impose a 3 percent tax on marijuana sales in unincorporated Clatsop County after county commissioners adopted the 3 percent tax. The tax is the maximum a county government body can impose under Oregon law. The vote brings the county into line with taxes imposed by most other cities in Clatsop County
When Oregon voters legalized recreational marijuana sales in 2014, the state imposed a 17 percent sales tax and gave cities and counties the option to add an additional 3 percent if approved by voters. The county considered the tax in 2016, but no recreational dispensaries existed outside city limits at the time.
Staff estimates the tax, applied to dispensaries outside city limits, would generate $50,000 in revenue annually, county staff estimated.
Gearhart also sought to align itself with Oregon statute as voters considered Measure 4-199, designed to amend the city’s taxes on sales of marijuana products. Unofficial results showed more than 70 percent of voters approving the 3 percent tax on the sale of cannabis products.
Gearhart was among a few cities to vote in a tax prior to the legalization of recreational cannabis. In 2014, shortly before the state’s voters approved Measure 91, the city passed an ordinance requiring a 10 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana and a 5 percent tax for a medical marijuana registry cardholder.
After legalization, the state established a 17 percent tax on marijuana and limited local taxes to 3 percent. Cities may not tax medical marijuana sales.
With a 10 percent tax already in place, Gearhart city councilors had the option of defending the tax in court or asking voters to approve a 3 percent tax.
The measure would approve the Gearhart ordinance imposing a 3 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana in the city by a licensed marijuana retailer. The tax would be collected at the point of sale and remitted by the marijuana retailer. The measure also includes provisions regarding collection, administration and enforcement of the tax.