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Columbia City Council considers tax on recreational marijuana for addiction services

COLUMBIA Mo. (KMIZ)

Two of the largest cities in Mid-Missouri could vote on whether to add a local sales tax to recreational marijuana this spring.

Columbia and Jefferson City Councils are both introducing proposals to add a question to their April ballots. It would ask residents whether they want to implement an additional 3% local sales tax on recreational marijuana. This would go on top of the state's 6% sales tax. The 3% tax would not apply to medical marijuana buyers. 

The state's sales tax is split between veterans' services, addiction treatment and the public defender system. Local municipalities can decide how to use revenue from local taxes, under the amendment.

This proposal comes after recreational marijuana was approved statewide under Amendment 3 by voters in November. The amendment was officially added to the state constitution earlier this month. Recreational marijuana should be available for purchase in early February 2023.

During Monday's City Council meeting, Columbia is proposing a ballot question saying, "Shall the municipality of Columbia, Missouri impose an additional sales tax of three percent (3%) on the retail sale of adult use marijuana?”

If passed, the question would appear on the April ballot for Columbia voters.

Before the question can be approved, the council needs to hold a public hearing. The next council meeting is on Jan. 17 which gives them a week before the Jan. 24 deadline to have the City Clerk certify the ballot language.

The council memo says the extra revenue generated from the proposed tax would go towards, "the increased cost of additional services directed toward mental health and addiction services.”

Adult-use marijuana advocate Dan Viets said he approves of the tax, but not the implication that recreational marijuana will lead to an increase in addiction and mental health issues.

"I don’t there’s any evidence that there would be any such needs," Viets said. "I think the 3% tax could be spent on other worthwhile public works and public needs."

People who use marijuana have a 10% chance of developing an addiction, according to the CDC.

Jefferson City Council introduced a bill to put a 3% local sales tax on recreational marijuana on the April ballot during its Monday meeting.

Jefferson City staff determined the tax would generate more than $153,000 each year. Jefferson City has not decided what to put that revenue toward should the tax pass. If passed, the tax would go into effect Oct. 1, 2023.

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Kennedy Miller

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Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.

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