City starts information campaign on Columbia marijuana sales tax
COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
The City of Columbia has started its public messaging about the recreational marijuana sales tax on the April ballot.
The city's website contains a detailed breakdown with percentages of where the city expects to spend the funds, with more than half of it going toward public safety. Some of the money is planned for health and parks.
The city expects to bring in anywhere between $400,000-$1 million each year from the tax.
City spokeswoman Sydney Olsen says where that money is spent is subject to change as budgets change over time and are ultimately decided by elected officials. The people who occupy those positions can change.
"We're waiting to see where things are at closer to the time, so we can have the discussion with both the public and our council," Olsen said.
The City of Columbia is looking to add an additional 3% sales tax to the recreational sale of marijuana.
Olsen previously said the revenue could go toward expanded social services, public safety, parks and recreation and transportation.
The Columbia City Council unanimously voted in January to put the question of adding the tax on the April 4 ballot. Missouri voters approved Amendment 3 in November, which legalized and placed a 6% sales tax on the sale of recreational marijuana. It also authorized local governments to add a 3% sales tax.
One hundred cities in Missouri have put a marijuana sales tax on their April ballot, according to information Olsen provided. These include Kansas City, Joplin and Jefferson City. Several other municipalities within Boone County have the sales tax question on the ballot as well, such as Centralia, Sturgeon, Hallsville and Ashland. Cole County also has a 3% tax question on its ballot this spring.
The funds collected from the tax will be allocated to the city's general fund.
Boone County is also proposing a 3% sales tax on recreational weed. Dan Viets, a lawyer in the Columbia area and coauthor of Article 14, claims those looking to purchase recreational marijuana will not be double taxed.
People who live in Columbia will have both questions on the same ballot when they go to vote, but Viets said the Boone County sales tax will only apply to sales that are made outside of Columbia.
"So it won't be a 6 percent tax from these two being stacked on top of each other," he said. "It'll just be a 3 percent tax, either in the city or outside of the city."
The current 6% sales tax that is within the entire state of Missouri's funds will go towards funding expungements of marijuana convictions, addiction treatment, veteran services and the public defender systems, according to Viets.
"I think the City Council will have the ability to use this tax as it sees fit," Viets said. "We're not trying to limit it to a specific topic."
He also expects the propositions to pass, as most voters are not marijuana consumers, and would have no reason not to impose the 3% tax on people who do consume marijuana.
"The people who are marijuana consumers are the ones who proposed it, who allowed the city to place this measure before the voters," Viets said.
No campaign finance committees have been formed to advocate for or against the local tax, according to both Viets and the Missouri Ethics Commission website.