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Some marijuana tax revenue going to opt-out cities, too


The first allocation of Oregon’s marijuana tax revenue is being distributed to cities. For this year, all cities in Oregon, not just those who voted to allow recreational marijuana dispensaries, will get some of that money.

City officials said they’re not disappointed they have to take a smaller slice, now that cities that are not contributing to the revenue stream get to share in the money, because when planning the budget for this year, they did not include the tax revenue.

“We didn’t budget any revenues for our allocation of the state marijuana tax, because we didn’t have any indication from the state how much or how little that would be, initially,” Bend Finance Director Sharon Wojda said Wednesday. “So at this point, any of the state marijuana tax we bring in is going to be above and beyond our budgeted levels.”

Oregon’s first year of taxing recreational marijuana brought in over $60 million, which is a lot higher than predicted. Cities that don’t have recreational dispensaries will get a piece of that pie this year.

One of those cities is Prineville, where Mayor Betty Roppe acknowledged the inconsistency but said she does have a plan for the extra funds.

“We will probably accept that, and we will put it in our public safety funding account, and that means our police department,” she said.

When the funds do come in, they’ll go mostly to public safety. The city councilors will rely on feedback from the police and fire departments for deciding that.

The state Department of Revenue recently announced the first marijuana tax revenue distributions, including a total of $17 million to cities and counties, each getting 10 percent of the total.

Two formulas come into play — before July 1 of this year, a distribution based solely on population.

After that, only cities allowing all kinds of recreational marijuana (growing, production and sales) are eligible for part of the money. Most (75 percent of the total) is still based on population, but the rest is based on grower, wholesaler, processor and retailer licenses.

For counties, half is based on the “total available grow canopy area in the county,” the state said recently, and the other half is based on the sum of licenses — but only for counties that didn’t opt out of allowing those facilities.

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