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Oregon Legislators Propose A Marijuana Sales Tax


oregon marijuanaThe term ‘sales tax’ is largely considered to be taboo in Oregon politics. Oregon is rare in that it doesn’t have a sales tax, and any time any politician talks about creating a sales tax in Oregon, they are usually committing political suicide. Oregon hasn’t had a sales tax in a very long time, and lots and lots of polling has shown that citizens don’t want it. Oregon politicians have realized that people don’t want a sales tax, and have largely left the issue alone. That is, unless it involves marijuana.

The Oregon Legislature wants to create a sales tax specially for recreational marijuana. These politicians have tried very hard to pretty up their proposal by calling it a ‘point of sale’ tax, but it’s obviously a sales tax. Oregon voters approved Measure 91, which specifically stated that taxing would be left to the state, not to municipalities, and that the tax rate would be a flat $35 per ounce tax. For some reason Oregon politicians don’t want to respect the will of the voters, and instead are wanting to allow up to a 3% local sales tax on marijuana, and a 17% state sales tax. Per Oregon Live:

Legislative negotiators have tentatively agreed on a sweeping marijuana deal that could produce a 20 percent sales tax on recreational sales of pot.

Under the deal — which is still subject to change — the state could collect a 17 percent tax while localities could collect up to 3 percent.

The deal to allow local taxes is aimed at ending a standoff with cities and counties over just how much power they have to prohibit retail sales of both recreational and medical marijuana.

Oregon voters don’t want a sales tax, on marijuana or anything else. Oregon voters passed Measure 91 which specifically gave taxing powers to the state alone, had a clear tax rate of $35 per ounce of flower, stated no less than three times that the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program should remain in tact as it was before the 2014 Election, and only allowed bans on recreational marijuana sales if it was approved by voters. What happened? Why is the Oregon Legislature pushing their own version of recreational marijuana legalization, especially considering the fact that they had the chance to pass their own version before the 2014 Election and refused to do so?

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Johnny Green


  1. Responsible adults who want full equality with alcohol users, which would still be way more than fair to alcohol.

    Nothing wrong with fixating on the economic devastation caused by prohibition level prices for cannabis. Cannabis needs to compete on a level playing field with alcohol, and everyone will benefit except special interests.

  2. Simple. This measure was not a constitutional amendment and we are dealing with the repercussions of that decision. I have been following the changes closely and I am not sure how this product is going to be reasonably priced when it is all said and done. The cost for testing [which I agree with] has to be absorbed by someone, all of the licensing will be added into the cost of the end product, the regulation of the market is going to cost, etc. The longer the joint committee discusses implementation the more opportunity there is for additional people to try and make this product untenable, thus keeping the black market alive and well. Perhaps that was their goal all along, but we are likely to see Washintonian price tags initially despite the clear evidence that the market will not bear those price points.

    I will be growing for myself so it is a moot point for me, but that does not warrant further destruction of the OMMP or the continued alteration of 91 to suit a few would be opportunists. If the plan is to completely disregard the $35/oz tax and move to a point of sale tax [sales tax] it better be an equivalent taxing on the product going out the door. Additionally, we are moving into the realm of having far too many fingers in the pie. Municipalities should have zero ability to tax this product. We voted to have the state be the sole taxer and it should remain as such. As soon as we begin adding more open palms to this equation recreational assumes the worst possible position. The commission is trying to make too many of the corrupt happy all because they are complaining that their once subversive income is now on the books.

    This is going to end much worse than I initially had anticipated.

  3. Robert Dewayne King on

    No , responsible adults who fed up to eyeballs with self serving political dinosaurs who are determined to overrule the voters who made it perfectly clear what they wanted and got it voted into LAW…. ! Not a “suggestion” or “guidelines” , LAW !!

  4. Its not a “sales” tax…that applies to all goods sold

    This is an excise tax which is like a sales tax, but it is only on a specific good under specific conditions.


    God knows why this abuse of words for political purposes must persist as it does.

    Johnny means to say he doesn’t want taxes….the cannabis tax is one of the main reasons the bill was passed….this is probably why the abuse persists

  5. I guess the black marketers now have their own lobby. Adding this exorbitant sales tax is the best way to insure their survival.

  6. We need this… this political suicide. People are starting to realize who thede politicians are.

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