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Local one-time marijuana tax payments totaled $46,657

Nearly half went to drug abuse awareness programs.
Richard Hanners

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on September 4, 2018 5:01PM

One-time marijuana tax distributions in Grant County totaled more than $45,000, and most of the funds were spent on drug abuse awareness programs.

EO Media Group/E.J. Harris

One-time marijuana tax distributions in Grant County totaled more than $45,000, and most of the funds were spent on drug abuse awareness programs.

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Grant County voters overturned the ban on recreational marijuana businesses in May, but the county and its eight cities received $46,657 prior to the election as their share of marijuana taxes collected by the state.

Oregon cities that opted out of the state law allowing recreational marijuana businesses received one payment from statewide marijuana taxes collected from Jan. 4, 2016, through June 30, 2017, based solely on population, said Joy Krawczyk, communications operations manager for the Oregon Department of Revenue.


General funds


Seneca is the only city in Grant County that didn’t opt out of the state law allowing recreational marijuana businesses, but there is no commercial property within the city limits that is more than 1,000 feet from the public school, said City Manager and Recorder Raamin Burrell.

As a result, recreational marijuana businesses cannot operate in Seneca, but the city receives about $100 each quarter from statewide marijuana taxes, which goes into the city’s general fund, she said.

Prairie City received $2,706 in 2017 from the statewide marijuana taxes and put the money in the city’s general fund, City Recorder Bobbie Brown said.

Canyon City received $2,096, City Recorder Corry Rider said. The money was put in the general fund as miscellaneous funds in the same way the city deals with liquor and cigarette taxes, he said.

Mt. Vernon received $1,561 in 2017 from statewide marijuana taxes and put the money in the city’s general fund, City Recorder Tami Kowing said.

Dayville received $446, City Recorder Ruthie Moore said. The money has not been designated for any specific purpose, she said. Monument received $386 and Long Creek received $580, Krawczyk said.


Awareness programs


John Day, the largest city in the county, received $4,945 as its share of statewide marijuana taxes. The John Day City Council on Feb. 13 unanimously approved providing the money to the Community Health Needs Assessment Substance Abuse Committee to support education on substance abuse issues.

Grant County received $15,175 from the Department of Revenue for its share of the state marijuana tax. Blue Mountain Hospital CEO Derek Daly subsequently asked the county to provide the money to CHNA to fund a variety of projects to increase public awareness of substance abuse.

County Judge Scott Myers noted at the time that the county wasn’t sure how the money should be spent, and the court unanimously approved the request. It has since been determined that this money was not earmarked for treatment and prevention, and the county could have spent the funds for law enforcement, roads or any other county needs.

On April 4, the county received $18,362 from the Oregon Health Authority. According to Nicole Corbin, an adult behavioral health services manager at the Oregon Health Authority, that money was earmarked for alcohol and other drug treatment or prevention services. The money has not yet been spent by the county.

Altogether, CHNA in partnership with the Trauma Informed Care Community Task Force received $20,120 from John Day and the county, about 43 percent of the total received by the county and its eight cities.

“The funding is being used to create awareness around both substance abuse and trauma-informed care through youth engagement as well as professional development for youth-serving organizations and agencies,” said Lisa Weigum, a drug awareness coordinator at Community Counseling Solutions in John Day.

About $14,000 has been allocated for youth engagement and community outreach, she said, including the Teen Health Fair in 2019.

“This fall, an award-winning global speaker, Kevin Hines, is scheduled to speak in our community to both students and the general public,” Weigum said.

The remainder of the funding, about $6,120, will be used for professional development, including a trauma-informed care workshop for educators scheduled in October. Other professional development opportunities, such as for substance abuse and mental health, are in the process of being scheduled, she said.



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