DON’T SMOKE THE MESSENGER: Turns Out, Oregonians Like Taxes
Well, it seems that everyone was too stoned to bother voting, at least in Jackson County. The upshot from Election 2016 is more communities in Oregon have become less marijuana friendly. Here is a breakdown of some of the votes that did and didn’t pass.
In Grants Pass, a 1 percent margin lifted the previous ban of marijuana licenses in the city limits. Even though that margin for that ballot measure was so slim, there was, of course, overwhelming support for creating a tax on those now legal sales. Medford also has a ban on retailers that just barely got enough votes to be lifted.
In fact, for the perhaps the first time in Oregon, voters bucked the anti-tax mentality and approved more taxes in communities all across our region. Three percent sales taxes were passed in the unincorporated areas of Jackson County, and the cities of Medford, Central Point, Ashland, Eagle Point, Phoenix, Rogue River, Shady Cove, Talent, and Gold Hill.
(Editorial comment: It really is too bad that folks think it is better to tax farmers and start-up business than the “big guys”; ahem, measure 97).
In spite of the votes for taxes, those were largely an academic exercise as most communities that voted for the tax also voted to ban the very thing that would generate funds. While the specifics are a little different in each community, generally the bans are for producing, processing and retailing. Some are just bans on recreational, but some, like Jacksonville, are across the board, including medical. Jacksonville, Central Point, Eagle Point, and Shady Cove all voted in bans.
While Medford did get just enough votes to lift the ban on retail sales, they also voted to ban all outdoor growing in residential areas. No more four plants in the back yard. No more sun grown medicine for patients who have chosen to use cannabis instead of opiates.
It is baffling how a community that lives in an area that has such a perfect climate for this kind of agriculture, that claims to be a community that supports agriculture, could work so hard to prevent this crop. This industry wants to create new businesses and provide good paying jobs. Yet. . .