La Pine city leaders on Wednesday voted to repeal a sales tax on medical marijuana and return the tax revenue collected so far to dispensaries who must return it to patients, The Bend Bulletin reports.
The city faced a lawsuit from one dispensary that claimed the tax was illegal.
While many Oregon communities are expected to push for a tax on recreational cannabis next year, only a handful impose a tax on medical marijuana. A recent legal opinion drafted by the Office of Legislative Counsel concluded that such a tax is not allowed under state law.
In a letter to Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, Mark Mayer, a legislative counsel attorney, wrote that a state law passed this year doesn’t allow cities and counties to tax medical marijuana. Local governments may, however, may pursue a tax on marijuana sold by retailers with an Oregon Liquor Control Commission license. (Medical marijuana dispensaries are regulated by the Oregon Health Authority.)
Whether to impose a tax must be decided by local voters during a statewide general election.
The Bulletin reports that the La Pine City Council on Wednesday discussed the ordinance establishing the tax, which was passed one before Oregon voters said yes to legal marijuana.
The Bulletin reports:
City councilors Wednesday decided hashing out the legality of the tax in court would be costly to La Pine taxpayers.
“We need to do what’s best for the city,” said Councilor Karen Ward. “We need to not use taxpayers’ money on something that down the road is going to take another turn possibly.”
Councilor Stu Martinez said, “I think our best course is to repeal it at this time.”
– Noelle Crombie, Oregonian/Oregon Live – Click here for Original – Noelle Crombie
THE UNTOLD STORY
Green Knottz owner Donald Huff composed a typed letter and emailed it to the La Pine City Councilors, Staff, and City Manager (Rick Allen) in July of 2015 prior to engaging in legal councilor represented by Leland R. Berger of Portland, OR. This letter outlined in detail the simple understanding of the regulations passed down by the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program which in conjunction with the Oregon Dispensary Program – describes how Medical Marijuana is non-applicable in taxation. Randy nor Donald of Green Knottz got a response from any staff, councilors, or the City Manager on the important inquiry and letter prescribed to them deeming there ordinance illegal. The City of La Pines extensions did not even have the courtesy to confront a local small business owner in a reasonable conversation. The fact that Medical Marijuana provided to dispensaries authorized by the designated patient is transferred by the authorized member to the dispensary for reimbursement… there is no profit. It is baffling in it’s essence when the La Pine City Attorney (Jeremy Green) or his constituents which represents more than two cities did not perceive these basic notions described in the regulations provided to them. In turn with the City of La Pines inaccurate Ordinances and presumptions made by Jeremy Green – it brings a desolate upbringing of businesses in La Pine. Owners of Green Knottz (Randy and Donald Huff) were severely punished by this illicit tax collection and attorneys fees. After Green Knottz attorney attended a public meeting held at the La Pine City Hall – the Councilors decided it was in their best interest to repeal the illegal ordinance since they were being sued by Green Knottz. After the illegal ordinance was repealed – owners of the dispensary in La Pine decided to drop the law suit. We can only hope that the City of La Pine and it’s undeniable political faults come to a halt with some new council members and better choices – and possibly a better attorney…
Randy Huff – Owner of Green Knottz. 3/17/2016