By Keith Mansur
After nearly two years of tax collecting on marijuana sales by the state of Oregon, they have finally started to disburse some of the revenue to the cities and agencies that are earmarked to receive the funds. A whopping $85 million will begin going out to the different agencies immediately and state officials said Friday that they should have the distributions completed by October 11th.
Over the past 20 months Oregon and local municipalities collected over 106 million in taxes, of which $9.53 million was distributed to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to reimburse them for expenses they have already incurred while setting up the program and hiring new staff. Local jurisdictions have already been receiving their local tax money each quarter, which comprised $14 million of the total tax money raised. The balance of $85 million will now be dispensed to the different state agencies that were designated to be paid.
How the disbursement breaks down:
State School Fund = $34 million (40%)
Mental Health, Alcoholism, and Drug Services Account = $17 million (20%)
Oregon State Police = $12.75 million (15%)
Oregon Health Authority = $4.25 million (5%)
Cities and counties = $17 million (20% … 10% for each)
Most distributions are straight forward, but that’s not the case for cities and counties that are receiving a portion of the state tax that has been imposed. Before July 1, 2017, the cities and counties portion was broken down strictly by population. After July 1st, the formula changed to include other factors beyond population. Only cities that allow ALL the cannabis license types will receive a portion of the 10%. Of the eligible cities, the revenue will be divided based on population (75 percent) and their cities total of the states licensed cannabis businesses (25 percent).
County disbursements are also complicated. Half of their portion will be based on total available canopy in the county, and the other half based on their cannabis wholesale, retail, and processor license count. The counties that opted out of cannabis grow licenses are ineligible for the grow canopy portion and counties that opt out of the other licenses will be ineligible for that portion.
The cities and counties have been especially anxious to get the funds since almost every jurisdiction is struggling financially. Many were asking last year what was going on with the disbursements, and it was blamed on a rule that required the OLCC to be reimbursed for their expenses before any tax distributions could be made. Why it took so long to pay the OLCC is not clear, but now that they have been reimbursed, the cash should begin to flow to the agencies and municipalities that are waiting for the funds.
For more information on the tax revenue, visit www.oregon.gov/dor/marijuana or contact the Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Tax Program at (503) 947-2597 or you can email them at email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For licensing information on the adult use market licensing, visit the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s (OLCC) website at www.oregon.gov/olcc/marijuana.
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