KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Residents in over 30 Kansas City-area cities and counties hit the polls Tuesday to decide if their city can tax recreational marijuana sales.
Several local leaders want to implement a 3% local tax on marijuana sales, but voters had to weigh in first.
Unofficial results indicate voters in almost every city or county approved the marijuana tax in Tuesday’s election.
Three percent is the highest city sales tax a jurisdiction is allowed to collect under Missouri’s Amendment 3, which legalized recreational marijuana use for those 21 and older.
Along with several cities, two Kansas City-area counties — Jackson and Cass — have asked voters to approve the marijuana tax.
Countywide in Jackson County, it passed 65% to 35%.
Because the vote there passed, the question now becomes whether Jackson County can tack on an additional 3% sales tax to recreational marijuana buys within the city limits of the county, like KCMO or Independence. County Executive Frank White believes you can. The group that put this initiative on the November ballot, Legal Missouri 2022, believes you cannot though.
“Because they want the money,” Legal Missouri Campaign Manager John Payne said in an interview with FOX4 Tuesday when asked why Jackson County had this put on their ballot. “I certainly understand why they see the opportunity to get more money out there, and they’re going to try to do it, and that’s also why we put this limit on how much these local taxes could be.”
White was invited but did not come to a watch party put on by Show Me Stronger Communities at 3 Trails Brewing Company Tuesday. He would not go on camera with FOX4. Payne explained how the amendment was written in our interview with him Tuesday.
“The way we defined a local government is it is in the case of an incorporated area, it is the city, town, or village that is located there,” Payne said. “Or if it’s an unincorporated area, then it’s the county that has the jurisdiction, but it’s an ‘either’ ‘or,’ not a ‘both’ ‘and.'”
There are other people who have the same sentiment as White though. In Independence, it passed with 69% of people voting yes. 31% of voters said no.
“I would agree that they can stack them,” Independence Mayor Rory Rowland said in an interview with FOX4 Tuesday. “That’s the opinions that we’ve had and the discussions we’ve had. If it gets sued, and there’s a lawsuit filed and a judge decides otherwise, then that will be the case, but I think that’s probably what would happen is to overturn it is, it would have to go in front of a judge to see if they’d overturn it.”
Rowland and White were supporters of Show Me Stronger Communities for the April election. This issue likely won’t impact the city of Independence itself though, since they already know they’ll be getting an additional 3% in sales tax revenue from the marijuana purchases within their city limits. Counties like Jackson don’t know whether they’ll be able to collect the extra money.
The additional sales taxes are supposed to take effect October 1st. Leaders FOX4 talked to Tuesday hope the county issue is resolved by then. Rowland told FOX4 he’d like to use the additional sales tax revenue to start building a new police station.
Many other Missouri municipalities passed this same tax Tuesday too. In Kansas City, 73% of voters said yes to the additional 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana. 27% of voters said no. In Lee’s Summit, 74% of voters said yes. 26% said no. In Raytown, 67% of people said yes. 33% said no. In Liberty, 78% of voters said yes. 22% said no.
However, if the tax is approved in the county and a city within that county, officials don’t agree if recreational marijuana buyers would pay a tax to both.
Regardless, the state will also charge an additional 6% sales tax on all recreational marijuana purchases, and the regular sales tax for each jurisdiction still applies.
The local tax will not apply to medical marijuana purchases, and the state will keep its 4% tax rate for anyone with a medical marijuana card.
Here’s what voters in each city or county in the Kansas City area decided Tuesday: