Oregon Cannabis Tax Hikes Approved in Most Localities

Tuesday marked major developments for legal marijuana around the U.S. — but voters in Oregon were considering a different type of cannabis question: 111 different communities and municipalities held votes on whether or not to add a three percent local tax on top of the state’s 17 percent cannabis sales tax. Specific tax revenue from that three percent increase will go straight to local governments.

According to The Oregonian‘s Noelle Crombie’s early reports, a vast majority — more than 90 percent — approved the tax hikes, including Portland, Eugene, Salem, and Bend.

The state’s current recreational cannabis tax rate is 25 percent and has been in place since taxed cannabis sales launched in Oregon on January 1, 2016; the two months of adult-use cannabis sales prior to that were tax-free.

The state’s new 17 percent cannabis tax — which, when combined with the three percent local tax that was passed in many communities on Tuesday, will total to a 20 percent sales tax — takes effect January 1, 2017.

The new local taxes were typically approved with very wide margins: in Portland, for example, 80 percent of voters supported the three percent tax hike.

In addition to the local tax hikes, 60 Oregon communities held votes that essentially asked voters whether or not they wanted to ban the medical and/or recreational marijuana industries. The majority of communities that were asked about them actually supported such bans, including the affluent Portland suburb Lake Oswego. Fifteen localities, however — including Albany and Scappoose — rejected the bans.

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