Voters yesterday approved a new tax on sales of adult-use cannabis in the city of Springfield.
Nearly 70% of voters in the single-issue special election voted in favor of the tax, according to the unofficial election results from the Greene County clerk's office. Around 6,000 votes were tallied, resulting in an unofficial voter turnout of around 5.6%, said Michael Summers, chief deputy clerk, via email.
The measure adds a 3% local sales tax on adult-use, or recreational, marijuana sales, that's expected to generate up to $1.8 million per year for public safety, addiction prevention and treatment services, mental health services and housing, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. The city levy is in addition to the state’s 6% recreational marijuana tax and the standard city sales tax rate of 2.125%.
City spokesperson Cora Scott said the new tax would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
In a news release, City Manager Jason Gage said he expects City Council would budget the tax dollars each fiscal year.
"They could spend all funds in one program, divide them evenly or take a more customized approach," Gage said in the release. "If they should focus on long-term programming using the funds, then it is possible they will prepare a longer-term funding plan similar to our capital improvement program."
Scott added via email that the municipality likely would not consider spending the collected tax money until fiscal 2025, which starts July 1, 2024. Public discussions on the budgeting of the funds are planned, she said.
Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3, which legalized recreational use of marijuana, has a provision that allows governing bodies to place an additional 3% local tax on retail sales with voter approval, according to past reporting. Springfield previously was the largest Missouri city without a 3% local tax on adult-use marijuana.
The new tax does not apply to purchases of medical-use marijuana for patients with state-approved medical cards.
Council voted Aug. 7 to allocate $250,000 for the cost of the special election. The question of why the city chose to spend the money for a special election came up in a recent council meeting, and an official said moving slower on the issue would result in a delay in collecting revenue, according to past reporting.
Taney County tax
Voters in Taney County also decided on a recreational marijuana tax yesterday.
At the ballot box, 72.4% of the roughly 5,800 votes cast were in favor of the tax, according to the unofficial election results posted to TaneyCounty.org.
The measure adds a 3% tax on the sale of recreational marijuana in the county.
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