Marijuana tax to be decided by county voters

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 1/20/23

The Warren County Commission will ask area voters this April to weigh in on a 3-percent sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Commissioners Joe Gildehaus and Matt Flake voted in December to place …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Marijuana tax to be decided by county voters

Posted

The Warren County Commission will ask area voters this April to weigh in on a 3-percent sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Commissioners Joe Gildehaus and Matt Flake voted in December to place the sales tax on April 4 election ballots for voters throughout the county. Southern District Commissioner Tom Meyer was absent for the vote.

Missouri voters legalized recreational marijuana with a constitutional amendment last November. That amendment established an extra 6-percent tax on recreational marijuana products, and it also allows local governments to place an additional 3-percent tax of their own.

The special marijuana taxes are in addition to normal sales taxes, which ranges from around 7 percent to over 10 percent, depending on where you’re shopping in Warren County.

Doing the math in Warrenton, for example, purchasing recreational marijuana will come with a minimum charge of about 15.5 percent sales tax. If the county’s marijuana sales tax is approved, that would rise to 18.5 percent. 

And if the city of Warrenton asks for its own, separate marijuana tax, as city aldermen have discussed doing, that would bring the tax on recreational marijuana up to 21.5 percent.

None of these extra taxes would apply to marijuana businesses that continue to operate as medical marijuana dispensaries that only sell product to licensed medical patients.

Any local tax must be approved by a majority of voters. The county’s recreational marijuana sales tax will appear on April 4 election ballots alongside annual elections for local city government, school board and emergency district offices.

Presiding Commissioner Joe Gildehaus said the availability of the sales tax is an opportunity to help fund public services. The commission hasn’t made any firm commitment on how the money would be used, but Gildehaus said one potential idea is putting it toward local mental health programs.

“Mental health is a major problem we have, not only in our county but everywhere,” Gildehaus noted. “Nobody likes taxes, but that being said, if that can help different areas out, that’s what we would think about using it for.”

Northern District Commissioner Matt Flake said he sees the proposal as an issue of making the tax rate for marijuana similar to taxes on alcohol and tobacco. As-is, the tax rate for marijuana would be relatively low compared to those other products, Flake said.

He explained that the commission’s ballot language for voters doesn’t include any restrictions on how the tax revenue can be used, in order to allow the commission the ability to put the money where it’s needed at any given time.

There is currently only one active, licensed marijuana business in Warren County: Proper Cannabis in Warrenton. That business was licensed as a medical marijuana dispensary after voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018. Under the 2022 amendment, such medical dispensaries have the first option to convert their licenses to sell marijuana to any adult, rather than just medical patients.

Marijuana, Sales tax, Warren County Commission

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here


X