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Joseph city council will leave marijuana legalization to voters

A conservative estimate is that Joseph could receive $100,000 annually in marijuana tax revenue.

Published on December 13, 2017 8:53AM


By Steve Tool

Wallowa County Chieftain

The Joseph City Council said no to both a recreational and legal marijuana dispensary in the city limits Dec. 7. The council also voted to accept the resignation of Rodd Clark, who cited personal reasons for stepping down.

Sean Flanagan and Michelle Kramer, partners and owners of the The Peace Pipe, a Joseph store that sells smoking accessories and art, made their second request this year to allow them to sell pot. Their first appearance resulted in an indefinite tabling of the issue, as the city already has an ordinance on the books that prohibits selling of marijuana within 1,000 feet of areas children are known to congregate, which effectively includes the entire city limits.

Kramer did most of the talking. Mayor Dennis Sands asked her for projections of possible revenue for the city. She said that the city of Huntington’s demographics offered the closest match, and that city had received $150,000 in revenue from the state.

She offered that even a conservative estimate of Joseph’s potential would be $100,000 if it instituted the three percent sales tax allowed by law plus a percentage from the state tax.

Kramer also reiterated an offer the couple made previously: The proposed dispensary would pay the city the three percent tax on a monthly basis, so the city wouldn’t be forced to wait for quarterly distribution from the state.

She added what the couple saw as an opportunity for job growth, which included 15-20 growers and manufacturers of edible, extractions and such. “We’re going to need bud tenders, security staff, contractors and we’ll need outside sources for computer systems,” she said. “There’s a lot of job creation that’s not within the

industry.”

Kramer also addressed concerns the council might have, noting she has a child of her own and does not want marijuana in the hands of children and the proposed dispensary would have ample security to prevent that. She also said that crime statistics were ambiguous at best and that Oregon would need more time to accurately assess criminal activity associated with

marijuana legalization.

The petitioner asked the council to consider a medical dispensary for the sake of its citizens who otherwise have to make a long painful drive to obtain marijuana. Kramer also said it’s been shown it can be useful for people trying to wean themselves from opiates.

Sands thanked the couple for the presentation but recommended taking no action. He did suggest gathering signatures and putting a measure on the ballot to let the citizens of Joseph decide.

“We really believe in this,” Kramer said. “We’re going to keep fighting.”



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