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State bars Pendleton from going public with marijuana revenue

Antonio Sierra

East Oregonian

Published on October 2, 2017 6:58PM

Last changed on October 2, 2017 9:19PM


The city of Pendleton has received some marijuana sales tax revenue, but Finance Director Linda Carter will not disclose how much.

At least not yet.

When the city contracted with the Oregon Department of Revenue to collect the local 3 percent tax and the city’s share of the 17 percent state tax, Carter agreed not to publicly disclose how much money the city was receiving from marijuana sales taxes.

While cities have interpreted this agreement differently, Carter said her understanding is that she’s not allowed to talk about how much money the city’s received from marijuana tax revenue so far, although she characterized the amount as “minimal.”

Joy Krawczyk, a spokeswoman for the department of revenue, said the rule is in place to protect businesses’ private financial information. In cities or counties with 10 or fewer marijuana businesses, Krawczyk said, specific revenue figures could be used to identify personal information.

Despite the city’s agreement, its marijuana tax revenue won’t stay in the dark forever.

As a matter of public record, Carter said the revenue figures will be included in the city’s upcoming audit for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. Additionally, she said the finance department plans to eventually release quarterly finance reports to the city council, which will include marijuana tax revenue in it.

Due to the conflict between protecting private information and budgetary records laws, Krawczyk said the Oregon Department of Justice released an opinion on how cities and counties should interpret the disclosure rule. The department of revenue is analyzing the rule and expects to start sharing it with localities later this week.

Although Carter described the city’s marijuana revenue as “minimal,” it should receive a boost by the end of the week.

Cities and counties with legal marijuana sales have thus far only received local tax revenue from the first quarter of the year and no money from the local share of the state tax.

By the end of the week, Krawczyk said cities should get all state tax revenue collected since January 2016 and local tax revenue from the second quarter. From then on, Krawczyk said localities will receive revenue disbursements on a quarterly basis.

Pendleton projected $25,000 in marijuana revenue in its 2017-2018 budget.

It was the only city in Umatilla County to legalize marijuana sales and a local 3 percent tax during the November election. After the city made its own rules and the cannabis market was opened in January, three marijuana dispensaries opened — Kind Leaf Pendleton in March, Pendleton Cannabis in April and High Desert Cannabis in July.

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Contact Antonio Sierra at asierra@eastoregonian.com or 541-966-0836.



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