Money from marijuana

ALEX PAUL, Mark Ylen Democrat-Herald

Linn County Commissioner Roger Nyquist believes the $243,000 the county has received as its share of the marijuana sales tax should be funneled to the Juvenile Department and Linn County Drug Court.


But the issue has not come yet come before the full board, which includes John Lindsey and Will Tucker.

The Oregon Department of Revenue recently distributed some $85 million to cities and counties statewide. Oregon collected a total of $108.6 million in state and local taxes between Jan. 4, 2016, and Aug. 31, 2017.

The state will not provide information about how much tax is collected in each community, citing privacy concerns, but breaks down tax income by region.

All three commissioners were strongly opposed to legalizing marijuana sales in the county.

“In 2016, our Juvenile Department saw the number of referrals for youth marijuana possession increase by about 50 percent,” Nyquist said. “They went from 90 to 140 referrals. My first choice at this point would be to direct this money toward programs to assist with this problem.”

Nyquist added that he would hope his fellow commissioners would also want to help the local Drug Court program, which is facing possible state funding cuts.

“This money does not come without a cost,” Nyquist said.

The city of Albany received $185,000, while Corvallis received $176,000.

Albany spokeswoman Marilyn Smith said the council has not discussed how the funds will be used.

In Lebanon and Sweet Home, funds will be directed to community police departments.

Lebanon received $50,000.

“The marijuana tax distribution will be deposited into the general fund, where it will help fund our strategic plan and council goal to maintain police staffing commensurate with community growth,” City Manager Gary Marks said. “A new police officer position was added to the FY 2017-18 budget and these funds will help offset those costs.”

Sweet Home received $27,302 on Oct. 11, and Finance Director Pat Gray said “It will be recognized in the Police Department fund to support law enforcement activities.”

Harrisburg City Manager Brian Latta and Brownsville City Administrator Scott McDowell said their communities have not received any funds yet.

Benton County received about $190,000.

The state marijuana tax is 17 percent, and municipalities are allowed to add a 3 percent tax if approved by local residents.

The tax is to be distributed based on: 40 percent for education; 20 percent for mental health, alcoholism and drug services; 15 percent for state law enforcement; 10 percent to cities, based on population and number of licensees; 10 percent to counties, based on total available grow canopy size and number of licensees; 5 percent for alcohol and drug abuse prevention, early intervention, and treatment services.

Eve Adrianna
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Evonne is a Jr editor who is an aspiring actress and news reporter. She enjoys being on social media and socializing with others.