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October 28, 2014

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I really wrestled with last night's decision because I share the concern that if the cost of legalized recreational marijuana is too high, we risk a black market situation. Also, if we set a tax rate that is considerably higher than neighborhing jurisdictions, we potentially could miss out on revenue because the consumers will go to the more favorable market. We will have more answers after Nov. 4, and I would have no problem bringing this issue back to the Council, when we have a clearer understanding of the new law and how it will be implemented in OR and in our community. I would not agree that our decision last night was any sort of collective endorsement or impllied endorsement for Measure 91. We are all learning about this issue, and thankfully, were able to resolve the dispensary issue last night and give those businesses some certainty and ability to operate legally in Salem.

Diana, I can appreciate that this was a tough decision. It's understandable that the city council would want to look for ways to bring in more revenue. And quite a few other cities in Oregon have jumped on the marijuana taxation gravy train already.

But like you said, increasing the cost of legal pot makes buying on the black market more appealing. Fortunately, this issue probably will be moot if Measure 91 passes, since taxation by cities and counties almost certainly will be found illegal by courts.

My "implied endorsement" language was decidedly tongue-in-cheek, of course. Well, not totally, but mostly.

I do think, though, that if a local elected official really finds the notion of legalized marijuana to be repulsive, he or she shouldn't vote to tax it -- since this means the more pot is consumed, the more money flows into the local government coffers.

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