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Kansas City and other Missouri cities want to place an extra sales tax on recreational marijuana

While medicinal marijuana is legal in Missouri and Colorado, it is not legal in Kansas where an armored car transporting proceeds from Kansas City marijuana dispensaries to a Colorado credit union was stopped and its money seized.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Cities around Missouri will ask voters to approve an additional sales tax on recreational marijuana.

The state of Missouri will allow cities to tack on an additional sales tax to recreational weed. Many local governments appear ready to put the question to voters, and enjoy a new source of revenue.

Missouri cities across the Kansas City region are planning to ask voters to tack on an extra local sales tax for recreational marijuana.

On Tuesday night, city councils in Independence, North Kansas City and Blue Springs all discussed adding a local 3% sales tax to the additional 6% levied by the state. Medical marijuana will continue to be taxed at an additional 4% on top of the regular state sales tax.

All three cities must still approve an ordinance in the next week to put the issue to voters on April 4. The Kansas City Council also plans to vote on a ballot measure this month.

But how the cities will spend that additional revenue is still up in the air.

"We already have several programs that we could put that money towards," North Kansas City Councilwoman Lisa Tull said Tuesday’s city council meeting. "Like home improvement or water pipes leading up to homes."

The North Kansas City Council will likely put money into the general fund and decide later how to spend it, should voters approve the tax.

With only one marijuana dispensary in the city, according to staff, North Kansas City is looking at a modest increase in revenue — somewhere between $50,000 and $80,000 a year.

Blue Springs City Council is also considering putting additional marijuana revenue into its general fund.

However, Councilwoman Susan Culpepper suggested at Tuesday night’s meeting that the money should go toward road improvement.

"I think the residents of Blue Springs would prefer to see this go to the pavement, take it to our streets and pavement improvement," she said.

Blue Springs is also considering adding marijuana to the current indoor smoking prohibition on tobacco.

Independence is set to consider an ordinance next week to place the proposed 3% local sales tax on the April ballot.

City staff estimates that the additional tax would generate between $270,000 and $615,000 a year for the city.

"It should be noted that between January 2021 and October 2022, gross receipts have increased an average 9.4% per month," city staff wrote in a memo to council members about sales tax revenue from medical marijuana. "City staff expects the growth within this industry to continue, which will further increase sales tax revenues."

Kansas City was the first to green light the additional local sales tax when Mayor Quinton Lucas proposed an ordinance in November. The city is expected to take a final vote on the measure this month.

Lee's Summit, Belton and Grain Valley are also considering putting the extra sales tax to voters in April.

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