Missouri residents now have a new, more lenient way to consume marijuana, but it’s coming with a price tag that includes lots of taxes, especially if Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has his way.
The amendment included a 6% state tax on all recreational marijuana sales. According to the group LegalMo22, beyond covering administrative expenses and the costs to process automatic expungements, any remaining surplus will be split equally among veterans’ healthcare, drug addiction treatment, and Missouri’s underfunded public defender system for legal assistance to low-income Missourians.
In addition, the amendment allows local governments to impose an additional 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana sales. Just a few days after the amendment’s passage, Mayor Lucas introduced an ordinance, which was quickly approved by the council, to put the levying of the sales tax on the city’s upcoming April 4 municipal election ballot.
If approved, revenue from the tax would go toward marijuana and alcohol regulation, code enforcement, and “neighborhood quality of life.”
“Regulating the broad use of marijuana and ensuring it’s done according to the law will need monitoring, and that comes at a cost that should be paid for out of marijuana sales”, says Lucas.
With the tax money, the city hopes to expand the Regulated Industries Division, which also manages alcohol and adult entertainment businesses, among others. Lucas said much of the early years of the tax revenue would likely go toward funding that department.
“This does need to be voted on by the voters of Kansas City in April, but from what I’ve heard from a lot of folks, including those in the marijuana industry itself, they recognize that there’s a cost to regulation, there’s a cost to enforcement,” he said.
Many KCMO residents are excited about the mayor’s mention of “neighborhood quality of life.” However, what that is exactly, isn’t clear.