Tax revenue from Pendleton’s marijuana dispensaries has given the city more green than it knows what to do with.
According to the Pendleton Finance Department, the city has received $131,963 thus far from marijuana taxes in the current fiscal year, which runs from July 2017 through June 2018.
The figure caught both City Manager Robb Corbett and Mayor John Turner by surprise.
“I’m surprised that it’s that high,” Turner said.
When city staff put together the budget last spring, they projected the city would make $25,000 from marijuana revenue in the entire fiscal year, a conservative estimate made while staff waited to see how the local marijuana industry developed.
Pendleton has three marijuana dispensaries — High Desert Cannabis, Kind Leaf Pendleton and Pendleton Cannabis — that it receives tax revenue from. The city also receives its share of the 17 percent sales tax the state levies on cannabis retailers, in addition to a local 3 percent tax that was approved by voters in 2016.
Corbett said the local sales tax was a bigger revenue driver than the state tax.
With a six-figure windfall and more revenue coming before the fiscal year is over, the decision on how to spend the money now lies with Pendleton City Council.
Turner said the council hasn’t had the chance to discuss where the money will go, but added that there’s plenty of city projects and ideas in need of funding.