Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra
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Oregon's new "Green business"

With the legalization of pot in Oregon the state's coffers are busting with new revenue. The state expected to bring in approximately $43 million in tax revenue for the 2016 tax year. The estimate for 2017 will be a bit lower bringing in about $31 million as the tax rate will be lower.

The state economists first estimate the tax revenue at about $2-3 million for the year, but the first three months brought in over $10.5 million so they had to refigure the revenue. The state figures that nearly $12 million will go into the regulation of the industry. Over all costs will be about $25 million to the state but will be covered by licensing fees.
As by statute, the rest of the funds will be distributed to the following agencies.

40% will go to to the state's Common School Fund, 20% to mental health, alcoholism and drug services, 15% to Oregon State Police, 10% for city law enforcement, 10% for county law enforcement and 5% to the Oregon Health Authority for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, early intervention and treatment services.

State economists predict tax revenue will be significantly lower in 2017 because the tax rate will drop. But that could change easily as more and more Oregonians are smoking pot. Cannabis-infused edibles, extracts and non-psychoactive topical products will be allowed by June 1, 2017. Those products, too, are subject to the state tax.

The current tax will be replaced with one ranging from 17 percent to 20 percent once the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes over regulation of the recreational marijuana sales. The Legislature had set the base tax rate at 17 percent, but gave cities and counties can adopt ordinances that add up to 3 percent more.

Demand for the now legal pot was much higher-than-anticipated in order to keep up with the tax collections officials with the Oregon Department of Revenue ask for additional staff to help handle the influx of cash payments.

Since the Federal Government still considers pot to be illegal banks will not deal with the pot industry, so the industry does it business in cash and that includes paying their taxes to the state.

The state is having difficulty going through the process of licensing the pot testing labs because of the high demand for more labs. The state requires testing the pot for pesticides and for the potency of the product.

The state also requires a fence around pot growers, this fence must screen the view, keeping the site hidden. Many wine growers are complaining about this because their vineyards are in the same areas where the pot growers flourish. The wine growers believe the pot growers are an eye sore and discourages business for them, stating that it looks like a bunch of wooden forts placed all over the area.

No matter how you feel about the legalization of pot, or where it is grown, there is one thing for sure, the State of Oregon has a…. excuse the pun….. A pot of gold with pot.

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