Springfield to vote on 3% marijuana sales tax, joining Missouri’s large cities

(The Center Square) – The third-largest city in Missouri will ask voters on Tuesday to approve a 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana.

The question on imposing the additional sales tax on the retail sale of adult-use marijuana will be the only item on the ballot for voters in Springfield. The tax is expected to generate approximately $1.8 million in revenue. Springfield will use the proceeds for public safety, mental health services, housing and substance abuse services.

Consumers pay a 6% Missouri tax on retail sales of recreational marijuana. Springfield’s sales tax rate is 8.1% for all retail goods, which includes the city’s sales tax rate of 2.125%.

Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational marijuana last November. The law allows local governments to ask voters if an additional tax of 3% should be added on local retail sales of recreational marijuana.

Melissa Haase, the assistant director of public information and civic engagement for the city of Springfield, said she was unaware of any organized opposition to the tax.

“But there are folks who are always going to oppose taxes and any type of taxation,” Haase said in an interview with The Center Square.

The largest cities in Missouri, St. Louis and Kansas City, passed recreational marijuana sales taxes earlier this year. Columbia, Joplin and Ozark also passed taxes on recreational marijuana, along with Boone, Christian, Jackson, Jasper, Newton, Polk, St. Louis and Webster counties.

Tiffany Batdorf, vice president of communications and community relations for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, said the organization hasn’t taken a formal position on the issue.

“No member or partner requested that the chamber board review it when it was placed on the ballot,” Batdorf said in an email to The Center Square. “The chamber board’s executive committee was briefed on the issue and elected not to conduct a formal review that would lead to an official position.”

If voters approve, the tax would become effective Jan. 1, 2024.

Missouri State University is one of the largest employers in Springfield with more than 22,000 students. MSU and the University of Missouri system didn’t change any policies regarding the status of recreational marijuana use or possession after it became legal earlier this year.

“Since Missouri State receives federal funds, we are subject to federal laws that expressly prohibit the possession, use or distribution of marijuana on university property or as part of university-sponsored events,” the university’s website states.

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