Marijuana faces sales tax in Oregon -- but there may be a period of tax-free pot shopping

SALEM--A key legislative committee on Tuesday approved a bill that would establish a sales tax on recreational marijuana sales -- but that could also give bargain shoppers some tax-free pot buying opportunities in the coming months.

The legislation calls for a sales tax of up to 20 percent once state-licensed recreational marijuana retailers open shop sometime in the latter half of 2016.

In the meantime, House Bill 2041, calls for the Legislature to have a stiffer tax of 25 percent if lawmakers decide to go ahead with a temporary program to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to sell to recreational consumers.

But as they say in the late-night infomercials, wait, there's more.  If that early sales program happens -- and it's by no means a certainty -- the pot won't be taxed until Jan. 4.

Why tax-free shopping until then?  It actually has more to do with legislative politics and...

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