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Potential Marijuana Tax Increase in Portland Aimed to Help Minority-Owned Businesses

Brooke and Rodney Smith opened their Portland, Oregon cannabis dispensary, PDX Tree, in November 2014 – the same month Oregon voters approved a ballot initiative for legalizing recreational marijuana. While they were excited to enter what they hope will be a lucrative experiment in entrepreneurship, they say the state’s fluctuating policies, as it transitions from medical marijuana into recreational sales, have been a headache.

In order to get started, the Smiths had to pay the city for both a medical and recreational license – $3,500 and $4,795 annually – plus an additional $4,750 licensing fee to the state of Oregon. Because their store caters to both patients and potheads, they’ve also had to navigate the rules on the potency and amount of marijuana they’re allowed to sell, depending on whether it’s medical, edible or recreational.

“This was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” said Brooke Smith. “Our personal finances are all screwed up; our credit cards are maxed … We love what we do, but it definitely hasn’t been a cakewalk.” [Read more at The Guardian]

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