The Oregon Revenue Department is making the first distribution of tax money from recreational marijuana sales, nearly $85 million, to state agencies and to cities and counties, the department announced Friday.
The Revenue Department collected $108.6 million in state and local taxes between Jan. 4, 2016, and Aug. 31, of which $94.55 million is available for distribution. The payments are expected to be complete by Wednesday, the Revenue Department stated in a news release. The department and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission were first in line, reimbursed a total $9.56 million in startup costs for their role in creating a regulatory framework for legal recreational marijuana in Oregon.
The amount due to cities and counties is a complicated calculation based on population, when the tax was collected, the number of marijuana license holders and the size of marijuana growing operations in those jurisdictions.
Bend is eligible for about $240,000 just on population, according to a bulletin from the Oregon League of Cities. The city is also due another sum based on the number of commercial marijuana license holders within city limits. The city has not calculated how much it is due, said Anne Aurand, city spokeswoman, on Friday.
“Generally speaking, we intend to use it for public safety, police,” she wrote in an email. “But we have no detailed earmarks since we are not certain of the amount.”
Deschutes County Administrator Tom Anderson also said he didn’t know how much the county would receive.
“We know what we approved in terms of (marijuana) production in our county,” Anderson said Friday, but “we don’t know what that translates to in taxes collected.”
Measure 91, which Oregon voters approved in November 2014, set out a formula for allocating marijuana tax revenue collected by the state.
The state since January 2016 imposed a 17 percent tax on retail sales of recreational marijuana. Separately, the state collects a maximum 3 percent sales tax for cities and counties that impose it.
As for dividing up the state tax, the lion’s share, 40 percent, or $34 million in this distribution, goes to the State School Fund.
The state Mental Health, Alcoholism and Drug Services Account will receive 20 percent, or $17 million. To the Oregon State Police goes 15 percent, or $12.75 million. The Oregon Health Authority receives 5 percent, or $4.25 million.
Cities and counties will receive 10 percent each, or a total of $17 million.
The revenue calculation for cities and counties is divided between taxes collected prior to July and those collected after, according to the department. The distribution of taxes collected prior to July 1 is based on population. All cities and counties will receive a share.
The division of state tax money collected after July 1 is based on population and other factors, according to the Revenue Department. Only cities that allow all license types — producer, processor, wholesale and retail — are eligible for a share of the 10 percent. Eligible cities will collect a share based 75 percent on population and 25 percent on the number of license holders, according to the department.
The League of Oregon Cities estimated $460,000 will be distributed to cities in that category.
As for the 3 percent local sales tax, Aurand said Bend expects to collect about $500,000, which will be put to roads and police.
For counties, half of their share of state tax revenue collected after July 1 is based on the total square-foot measure of marijuana plant canopy growing under license in that county. The other half is based on the number of all license holders.
Counties that decided not to permit licensed marijuana processors, wholesalers and retailers will not collect a share of that tax revenue. Likewise, counties that do not permit licensed growers will not collect that share of tax revenue, according to the department.
Anderson said the County Commission has yet to determine how it will spend its share of state tax money. No marijuana retailers are in business in the unincorporated parts of the county, so no local sales tax is collected there, he said.
Anderson said the state tax check coming to Deschutes County could go to address issues of code enforcement, land use policy or law enforcement.
“The next step is to have some policy discussions once we get that first check from the state,” he said.
— Reporter: 541-617-7815, email@example.com