Medford City Council Study Session Minutes
September 4, 2014
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Medford Room, City Hall, 411 W. 8th Street, Medford with the following members present:
Mayor Gary Wheeler; Councilmembers Daniel Bunn, Dick Gordon, Tim Jackle, Eli Matthews and Bob Strosser
City Manager Eric Swanson, Deputy City Manager Bill Hoke, Deputy City Attorney Kevin McConnell; Deputy City Recorder Karen Spoonts
Councilmembers Chris Corcoran and John Michaels were absent.
City Manager Eric Swanson spoke about the options for taxing of marijuana. This could be considered as money grab by some but if it does come reality it will have tremendous impacts on the City. This is a Measure 91 initiative; we are only here to speak about the issue but cannot provide commentary.
Deputy City Attorney Kevin McConnell presented the background on Measure 91, which is the Control, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana and Industrial Hemp Act. The act allows people to possess, distribute and manufacture marijuana for recreational use. He stated that the City does have options 1) we can take the same position as before or 2) we could allow the marijuana businesses to do business in Medford. He then provided a PowerPoint presentation (see attached) and questioned if the City should tax medical marijuana, and if so, how much?
Council had the following comments/concerns:
- If you set the tax too high such as Washington you will keep the black market going. Colorado tax was more in line with their thoughts.
- Does imposing a tax hurt our home rule argument? (Deputy City Attorney McConnell stated that we could still have a home rule but will verify with the City Attorney’s office if home rule marijuana rights would be affected by taxation of medical marijuana).
- Food and beverage tax vs. home rule. (Deputy City Attorney McConnell unsure)
- Set aside some funds for enforcement.
- Does it mandate a certain percentage to go to the state for enforcement?
- Put an up-to tax which could be adjusted with a not-to-exceed.
- What is the time frame for when Council would need to make a decision?
- Questioned constitutional amendment or a statue. This will determine the timeline.
- Noted the underlying is health and safety not money. Anybody can get a medical marijuana card.
- Not ready to rule the home rule argument but agreed with the tax if the law was passed.
- Write the ordinance so that it is only done as a contingency plan.
- Wanted to know if this would need the vote of the people.
- Type of tax; Legal would work with Finance for the type of tax.
- Would like to see the ordinance in writing.
- Tax each level of service.
Council continued to talk about the amount of tax to impose.
Council wanted verification pertaining to the legal status of the City being able to tax without going to the voters as well as constitutional amendment or legislature issues. Council would also like to know about changing the not-to-exceed in the future and/or adjusting the tax rates.
The meeting adjourned at 6:58 p.m.
Karen M. Spoonts, MMC
Deputy City Recorder