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Want to buy legal weed in Kansas City? You may have to deal with a sales tax from Jackson County too

Water pipes at The Third Planet in downtown Lawrence, Kansas.
Nomin Ujiyediin
KCUR 89.3
In the upcoming April 4 election, Jackson County voters will decide whether to approve a 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana purchases.

Sales of recreational marijuana already come with a 6% state sales tax. With 3% city taxes on legal weed already before voters in Kansas City and other municipalities, Jackson County's proposal could bring the total up to 12% on each purchase.

After the April election, people in several cities in Jackson County may pay up to 12% in special taxes on their purchase of recreational marijuana.

The Jackson County Legislature approved a ballot question Tuesday to establish a sales tax on marijuana sales.

The ballot question proposes a 3% tax on sales of adult use, non-medicinal marijuana. City councils in Kansas City, North Kansas City, Raytown, Independence and Blue Springs also approved similar ballot measures this month. Voters will have a chance to weigh in on the potential sales taxes during the April 4 local election.

Revenue from the countywide tax would go toward a special revenue fund for community services and veteran’s support services.

3rd District-at-Large Legislator Megan Marshall called it a worthy cause.

“I believe all of us felt that an opportunity to provide resources to the community, to those who otherwise get overlooked in many scenarios, is something that we should definitely be able to take advantage of,” Marshall said during Tuesday’s meeting.

If all of the countywide and local taxes are approved, residents who buy non-medicinal marijuana will have to pay multiple state and jurisdictional taxes. For example, people who buy marijuana in Kansas City, Independence and Blue Springs will pay the 6% state tax, the 3% municipal tax and the 3% countywide tax.

In Kansas City, the proposed 3% sales tax would fund illegal dumping, homelessness services and violence prevention programs. The statewide 6% tax funds marijuana oversight programs and the expungement of prior marijuana offenses from people’s records.

Kansas City officials estimate that the local tax will generate $3 million annually for the first few years, and will increase to $10 million per year after the fifth year. Independence officials estimate that its tax would bring in about $600,000 a year.

A 3% tax is the highest local sales tax allowed by Missouri, following the passage of Amendment 3 in November.

As KCUR’s Missouri politics and government reporter, it’s my job to show how government touches every aspect of our lives. I break down political jargon so people can easily understand policies and how it affects them. My work is people-forward and centered on civic engagement and democracy. I hold political leaders and public officials accountable for the decisions they make and their impact on our communities. Follow me on Twitter @celisa_mia or email me at celisa@kcur.org.
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