The City of North Powder would economically benefit in a big way from having a marijuana dispensary, City Councilor Michael Morse said at the Union County Candidate Forum Monday.

Morse, who is running unopposed for re-election to Position 5 on the North Powder City Council, said tax revenue raised by a marijuana dispensary would help his community afford to make improvements.

He said for proof, look no further than Pendleton and Huntington, where local tax revenue generated by marijuana dispensaries is substantial. Morse believes if North Powder had a marijuana dispensary it would generate enough tax revenue to pay for much of the cost of building a new city hall and library.

“City hall is literally falling apart,” he said. “It desperately needs replacement, and the library is not far behind it.”

Should North Powder decide to capitalize on tax revenue from a marijuana dispensary, it wouldn’t happen in the near future. This is because North Powder voters in 2016 rejected Measure 3192, which would have legalized the sale of medical and recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city.

North Powder voters would have to approve a measure similar to M-3192 before a marijuana dispensary could open in town.

Regardless of where the money comes from, Morse said if North Powder’s city hall and library are to be replaced, an outside source of funding would be needed. The city councilor explained residents will not likely be willing to increase their taxes to replace the buildings because they recently began paying more in taxes on a $3 million bond voters in the North Powder School District approved in 2017.

The bond is helping fund the construction of a new high school and gym. Morse said people in the community are excited about the building improvements being made in the school district.