by Nathan Knottingham
On Monday morning, August 17, the Chamber hosted City Manager Martha Meeker and other city staff in a discussion on the changing landscape of marijuana. The information was brief and informative, and the city is looking for the input from the business community.
The Chamber Board met at the regularly scheduled meeting August 18 and discussed the topic at hand surrounding the changing marijuana landscape. It was confirmed that we will continue to educate and encourage members to activate their voice on this topic. The Government Affairs Council will be discussing this topic as well at their next meeting.
Nicole Montesano, from the News Register, wrote a good summary of the topic (published August 21, 2015) as it was discussed in a city council work session August 19. Work sessions are special meetings called to educate elected officials and staff on topics of importance that will possibly require action from the elected body of representatives for the city. Nicole’s article can be found here (note: a subscription is required to read the article online).
The first issue before the council is concerning Senate Bill 460 which allows “Medical marijuana dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana from October 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. The Council has the option to ban Early Sales. [The decision] Does not require a voter referral” (The Changing Marijuana Landscape, City of McMinnville Flyer, August 20, 2015).
The first public hearing will be held at the regularly scheduled City Council meeting September 8th at 7pm. Citizens are encouraged to attend the meeting to make public comment. The topic at hand is ONLY surround SB 460 and the early sales of recreational marijuana through medical dispensaries.
But, like so many things, there is more to the topic as well. Attached is a document published by the City of McMinnville to help explain the issues at hand, and contact information for more questions. Changing Landscape Overview with Map.
In an attempt to simplify the discussion and help assist the educational piece we would like to provide two pieces of information.
1. The slides that were given as an outline for the discussion Monday. They are to the point and straight forward with facts at hand. Changing Landscape Slides.
2. I’ve attempted to summarize the moving parts in a timeline//flow chart of sorts:
SB460 – Early sales of commercial marijuana by medical dispensaries
- This issue is first on the council agenda. They will most likely hold a public hearing on September 8th, and could vote then or vote at their next meeting on September 22nd.
- This allows early sales of commercial recreational marijuana through medical marijuana dispensaries through December 31, 2016. Regardless of any other action, this provision ends on December 31, 2016. After that date medical marijuana dispensaries can no longer sell commercially under the early sales provision.
- Early sales can begin October 1, 2015. Retail sales are limited to ¼ ounce per purchase, per day.
- A 25% state tax would be imposed on these commercial sales beginning January 4, 2016, and collected by the state.
- The council could allow this now, but it will expire on December 31, 2016, regardless of the action taken under HB3400A.
- This bill governs six marijuana activities. The council can take a separate action on each of the six. That means they could ban some and not others. The six activities are:
o Medical marijuana processors (preparing edibles, skin and hair products, concentrates, and extracts)
o Medical marijuana dispensaries
o Commercial marijuana processors
o Commercial marijuana growers (This does not apply to medical marijuana growers.)
o Commercial marijuana wholesalers
o Commercial marijuana retailers
- If ALL of these activities are allowed, a sales taxes could be imposed as follows:
o McMinnville may impose up to a 3% sales tax on commercial retail sales, but it must be referred to the voters at the next statewide general election to be held on November 8, 2016.
o McMinnville would share in a state sales tax only if the council does not ban ANY (it must allow all to receive the tax) of these activities. (This is a complicated calculation…refer to HB2041 for all the fascinating details!)
o Tax revenue estimates to McMinnville are between $6,000 and $27,000 annually. This is a potential for the first year, however, it is nearly impossible to calculate any further.
- The council will take up this matter sometime later this fall.
- If they vote to ban any, or all of these activities:
o They need to consider and decide sometime before OLCC and OHA begin processing licenses for these activities on January 1, 2016.
o OLCC and OHA will not process licenses if McMinnville bans the activities and refers the question to the voters in November 2016 ballot.
o If any, or all of these activities are banned by the city council, then the issue of the banned activities goes before the voters on November 8, 2016.
- If the council allows the six marijuana activities, they would have the ability to impose some regulations regarding time, place, and manner (similar to what we have for medical marijuana dispensaries) that include:
o Hours of operation
o Location (to some degree)
o Manner of operation
o Access to the premises by the public
As you can see the issue is a little complicated and will come in different segments of time. The City Council is requesting any and all input from the public on these matters. Please contact city staff or elected officials if you have specific questions or issues. All of their contact information can be found at www.ci.mcminnville.or.us. Feel free to contact the Chamber of Commerce as well if we can be of any assistance.