REEDSPORT — The Reedsport City Council, on Monday, decided to join with other cities in the state in enacting a tax on marijuana, should Measure 91 pass Nov. 4.
That measure will legalize the recreational use of marijuana. The state already allows medical marijuana.
The council enacted a 5 percent tax on medicinal marijuana and 10 percent tax on recreational pot. Other Oregon cities, including Coquille, Ashland, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Springfield, Oregon City and Troutdale, have also approved similar taxes. Medford has proposed taxes of 6 percent and 18 percent. Fairview, in Multnomah County, has enacted 15 and 40 percent taxes.
Some councilors questioned whether the city could amend the rates.
“Let’s say, tonight, we do a 5 percent/10 percent tax on this stuff,” Councilor Frank Barth said. “Is that set in stone or can we regulate that at a later date?”
“I think that we could, certainly, choose at a later date to raise or lower it,” Mayor Keith Tymchuk said. “However it would still have to go to the voters.”
Reedsport’s Measure 10-119 requires a public vote whenever the council wants to consider raising fees or taxes.
City Manager Jonathan Wright said, like other cities, the council’s decision is just a place keeper vote in case Measure 91 passes.
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The city is already under a moratorium on marijuana dispensaries until May of next year.
Councilor Kathi Wall-Meyer said she was very concerned about taxing medical marijuana.
“The way I look at is we’re not taxing prescription medications,” she said. “And that’s the same prescription, written by the same doctor that’s going to write the medical marijuana (prescription).”
She was concerned that making the tax too high would just promote the black market on pot.
“If we’re going to tax it,” she said, “I think that we should leave the medical part alone.”
In other action, the council adopted an ordinance that sets new limits on loitering by kids suspended or expelled from local schools. It adds provisions for daytime loitering between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on days that schools are in session. Reedsport already has a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for those under 18. It also makes it unlawful for parents or guardians to “knowingly permit such minor to loiter, idle, water, stroll or play” in a number of areas in the city during school hours. That does not include kids who have adult supervision.
The council also voted to grant a non-exclusive telecommunications franchise to Coastcom, Inc.