Oregon Cannabis: Deschutes County Sues OLCC and DOR for a Share of Marijuana Tax Revenues

Deschutes County (“DC”) has had a contentious relationship with marijuana and, by extension, the Oregon Liquor & Cannabis Commission (“OLCC”). See here, here, here, and here.

In the latest development, DC filed suit last week against the Oregon Department of Revenue (“DOR”) and the OLCC concerning distributions from the Oregon Marijuana Account. According to the Complaint, DC has not received any transfers from the Oregon Marijuana Account since August 19, 2019.

Some background is in order. Oregon statutes 475B.759 and 475B.720 establish the Oregon Marijuana Account as the recipient of most of the tax revenue generated by the Oregon marijuana industry. (Tax revenue may exceed $150 million in 2021 after sales exceeded $1 billion in 2020). The DOR is tasked with making quarterly transfers of the 10% of the account to Oregon counties.

A precise statute governs each county’s quarterly share. Generally, the formula depends on the commercially available area of grow canopies and the number of licenses in the county. A county that prohibits the establishment of marijuana businesses is not eligible to receive transfers from the account. The idea is that a county receives tax revenue from the Oregon Marijuana Account proportionate to the amount of commercial marijuana

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