Marijuana Tax Revenue Won’t Reach All Parts of Oregon
- Oct 20, 2015 | Gail Cole
Ontario is nestled into a curve of the Snake River, on the eastern edge of Oregon. It’s a remote part of the state, closer to Boise, Idaho, than any city of size in Oregon. And, as in Boise, sales of marijuana are illegal.
Oregon voters approved sales and possession of recreational marijuana in July 2015. Since licensed retailers won’t open for business until some time next year, medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted to sell limited amounts of pot for recreational use as of October 1, 2015. Already, “Oregon dispensaries have done more than $11 million in business.
Current sales of recreational cannabis are tax-free (taxes will kick in on January 1, 2016). But many are eying the future revenue with excitement, as it will “fund schools, mental health programs, state police, and the cities and counties that are allowing recreational sales.” It will not be adding to Ontario coffers, which currently has a ban in place.
Ontario community leaders “believe no amount of money is worth the possible affect on the community.” Nicole Albisu, Superintendent of Schools, likened legalization to selling your soul to the devil.
According to initial projections, which many now think could be low, the Ontario school district would receive approximately $15,000 a year of marijuana tax revenue if they permitted sales. She and other community leaders don’t think the pay off is worth the risks associated with legalizing cannabis.