Pubdate: Fri, 27 Feb 2015
Source: Oregonian, The (Portland, OR)
Copyright: 2015 The Oregonian
Author: Andrew Theen


Portland Mayor Charlie Hales requested $440,000 for a marijuana 
permitting program, according to budget documents.

Hales, who oversees the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, authored 
a memo outlining the funding request in the upcoming 2015-16 fiscal year.

The mayor's marijuana program represents a small slice of some $58 
million in proposals submitted by city bureaus as they compete for 
roughly $14 million in one-time general fund dollars expected to be 
available come July.

More than half of the $58 million in one-time requests are from the 
Bureau of Transportation, The Oregonian/OregonLive previously reported.

"With recent legalization of recreational marijuana sales in Oregon, 
the City must develop local regulations to regulate medical and 
recreational sales establishments," Hales wrote. Willamette Week 
first reported Hales' pot permitting proposal on Thursday.

The $440,000 permitting program would pay to setup the permitting 
program as well as fund two new regulatory positions. The money would 
also continue a $65,800 marijuana regulatory position approved in 
last fall's supplemental budget.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is already shouldering its load 
in regulating the pot industry.

Last year, Hales' office created a marijuana task force to study ways 
of raising money and regulating the industry, and the group 
ultimately recommended a 10 percent city sales tax on the sale of 
marijuana in Portland.

The City Council approved that policy in October, but voters approved 
Measure 91, legalizing recreational marijuana, the next month. That 
measure prevented cities from tacking on additional sales taxes.

Portland was one of at least 18 cities in Oregon that passed taxes 
ahead of the November election, and the cities continue to lobby 
Salem lawmakers for a rule change.

Hales' memo indicates the $440,000 may not survive amid other 
requests for general fund dollars, saying "at a minimum" funding 
should continue for the livability managing (regulatory) position.

Portland officials hoped the 10 percent local tax would bring 
additional revenue to the city to offset the costs of regulating the 
new industry. "Although the program has potential to produce revenues 
in the future," ONI's budget note reads, "the amount is dependent on 
many issues that are unknown at this time."

If approved, the permitting program would apply to medical marijuana 
as well, and better notify neighbors when a business is opening in 
their part of town.

The City Council will hold budget work sessions started on March 17.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom