Voting ‘yes’ could cost Cannon Beach tax revenue

Pending election results, a medical or recreational marijuana facility can be licensed to operate only within the limited commercial zones in downtown, midtown and Tolovana Park.

CANNON BEACH —The future of cannabis in Cannon Beach has a number, and it’s not 420. Measure 4-179 prohibiting the sale of recreational marijuana in Cannon Beach is officially on the November ballot, with the question: “Shall recreational marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers be prohibited in Cannon Beach?”

“Language was approved for the ballot,” Cannon Beach City Manager Brant Kucera said Wednesday. “This bill is to disallow.”

A separate vote initiated by the city, Measure 4-182, will ask residents if a 3 percent tax should be applied to recreational marijuana sales.

Measure 91, which legalized recreational marijuana in Oregon for people 21 and older, was approved by 63 percent of Cannon Beach voters in 2014.

In early July, the City Council voted 4-1 to adopt an ordinance with time, place and manner restrictions for medical and recreational marijuana businesses. Zones are downtown from Ecola Creek on the north to Washington Street on the south, midtown from Harrison Street on the north to Elliot Way on the south, and Tolovana Park from Delta Street on the north to the northern boundary of Sand Castle Condominiums on the south.

Later that month, a group of residents successfully submitted a petition with 155 certified signatures to put an initiative on the ballot asking voters if recreational marijuana shops should be banned. Jeremy Randolph, Marlene Laws, Nancy Giasson, Gary Laws and Molly Edison formed the committee that brought the opt-out initiative to the city.

The ballot measure is summarized on the county Board of Elections website. “State law allows operation of licensed recreational marijuana producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers,” reads the summary. “State law also provides that the citizens may put forth an initiative to the voters to prohibit the establishment of any of those facilities within the city’s boundaries. The citizen petitioners have put forth such an initiative to the voters of Cannon Beach in this election.”

If approved, the city will be ineligible to receive distribution of state marijuana tax revenue and unable to impose local cannabis taxes or fees.

Under state law, a city that adopts an ordinance prohibiting the establishment of one or more types of marijuana facilities in the city may not impose a local tax on the sale of marijuana items.

The city’s separate local tax measure imposing a 3 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana would become operative only if the tax measure is approved by voters and the measure prohibiting marijuana facilities fails.

The tax would be collected at the point of sale and remitted by the retailers.

Apparently cannabis retailers are waiting until after the election before applying for a business license. “I’ve had maybe two calls in the last six months,” Kucera said.

“They have so much access in other communities, it doesn’t seem to be a pressing need,” added Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Court Carrier.

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