BEND, OR -- Bend City Councilors are considering asking voters to approve a tax on local marijuana sales. Officials estimate annual pot sales will total $11.5 million. The most a city can tax those sales is 3%, which translates to nearly $350,000 a year for Bend.
City manager Eric King told Councilors Wednesday night, the state already imposes a 25% tax. “Money that goes to the state is specifically earmarked for law enforcement. Then there is this question of the 3% which would only go to the city.” The city can use that money however it wants.
Councilors are leaning toward directing it to general fund, with an emphasis on public safety. Councilor Sally Russell said, “It’s a significant amount but it’s not millions of dollars and I would like to retain, at least long term, retain some flexibility in that use.”
Collections would likely begin next summer. The 25% state tax drops to 17% next year. That means, if Bend voters approve the pot sales tax in the fall, the total tax for the 17 dispensaries in Bend would be an even 20%. That’s significantly lower than Washington State’s 37% marijuana tax and Colorado’s 29% tax.