Missouri county, municipal ballots filled with recreational marijuana tax measures

(The Center Square) – Dozens of counties and municipalities were holding elections Tuesday on whether to impose a local sales tax on recreational marijuana in addition to the 6% Missouri sales tax.

When 53% of voters changed the Missouri Constitution last November to allow recreational marijuana, the ballot had information on the state sales tax paying for various programs. However, only details in the initiative petition contained information on authorizing any local government to collect an additional 3%.

However, multiple media outlets throughout the state reported a possible problem with the language that might result in the courts clarifying the ability to tax.

Those who wrote the petition believe only one local government entity may collect a 3% sales tax. Counties and municipalities believe the sales taxes can be stacked, meaning a county could collect 3% and a local municipality could collect 3%, bringing the total tax rate to 12%.

“(T)he governing body of any local government is authorized to impose, by ordinance or order, an additional sales tax in an amount not to exceed 3% on all tangible personal property retail sales of adult use marijuana sold in such political subdivision,” according to the Missouri Revised Statutes. “The tax authorized by this paragraph shall be in addition to any and all other tangible personal property retail sales taxes allowed by law, except that no ordinance or order imposing a tangible personal property retail sales tax under the provisions of this paragraph shall be effective unless the governing body of the political subdivision submits to the voters of the political subdivision, at a municipal, county or state general, primary or special election, a proposal to authorize the governing body of the political subdivision to impose a tax.”

St. Louis County launched an information campaign on the proposed tax increase in March and allocated $300,000 to a local marketing, advertising and public relations agency, according to multiple media reports.

The November ballot initiative created the Veterans, Health, and Community Reinvestment Fund to receive all state taxes and fees from recreational marijuana sales. After paying for administrative responsibilities, it will be appropriated for distribution to three areas: the Missouri veterans commission and allied state agencies, grants to agencies and nonprofit organizations for drug addiction treatment, and the Missouri public defender system to provide for legal assistance for those with low incomes.

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