Boone County commissioner discusses additional 3% recreational marijuana sales tax; expungement issues
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
On Friday, The Boone County Muleskinners hosted another discussion on proposed marijuana sales taxes ahead of Tuesday's election.
Columbia, Boone County and several other cities and counties have asked voters if they should impose an additional 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana.
The state currently collects a 6% tax from recreational marijuana sales, following the approval of Amendment 3.
According to the City of Columbia, the funds collected from the city tax would be allocated to the city’s general fund. It could then go towards things like public safety, administrative support, health and environment, parks, transportation and capital improvements.
The city says if voters approve the additional 3% tax, it would go into effect in October. The city estimates it would collect between $400,000-$1 million in the first year, if the tax is passed.
Boone County District 2 Commissioner Janet Thompson led the discussion over zoom Friday afternoon.
The proposal of the additional sales tax raised questions regarding whether or not recreational marijuana users will have to pay both a city and county tax when purchasing marijuana. Thompson said the amendment does not specifically state whether or not a "double tax" is allowed, and that it will likely be decided by the court.
"Then the question becomes whether the industry will then sue the department of revenue, right? to get a final decision as to what that language means," Thompson said. "I mean that's really the issue, and it'll go, because it's a Constitutional question then it's gonna go to the Missouri Supreme Court."
With marijuana now being legalized, those who have been convicted on charges of marijuana use in the past can have those charges expunged. Thompson noted that the process for having the charges for people in Boone County has been taking longer than expected, due to a lack of funding.
Specific language in the amendment does not provide the county with the funding needed to have the charges dropped. Thompson noted that since the amendment was approved, Boone County Circuit Clerk Christy Blakemore has sorted through files deciphering who, and what convictions are eligible for expungement. She also said that circuit clerks from across the state have traveled to Jefferson City to lobby for the money, but as of Friday afternoon, had not had any luck.
"That's why we feel as county commissioners that we need to give her the resources to get that done," Thompson said. "We hope that the legislature will cough up money for it, but we haven't seen that come over the finish line yet."
According to the Boone County Clerk Brianna Lennon, more than 1,000 people have voted in person so far for absentee voting.
Those still looking to vote early can go to the Southern Boone County library Saturday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., or at the Columbia Health Department on Sunday at the same time.