A lawsuit filed by a Kansas City lawyer who runs a seed-to-sale marijuana operation could set a precedent for the way local sales taxes are collected on cannabis products.

Chris McHugh, an attorney with Joseph Hollander & Craft LLC in Kansas City, also is president and CEO of St. Joseph-based cannabis operation Vertical Enterprise.

McHugh filed a lawsuit in September to fight back against a practice known as “stacking,” in which both St. Joseph and Buchanan County passed 3% sales taxes on marijuana sales and both are trying to collect them from dispensaries within the city limits. Enforcement of the sales taxes in Buchanan County started Sept. 1.

The issue extends beyond Buchanan County. A similar suit has been filed in St. Louis County, and the dispute appears headed for the Kansas City area.

On April 4, Jackson County voters approved a 3% county sales tax on marijuana, while many cities in the county also charge 3% sales taxes.

McHugh argues the practice is unconstitutional because the amendment that legalized adult use marijuana in Missouri only allowed for 3% total local sales taxes and stacking results in 6%, on top of the 6% the state is allowed to charge.

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