St. Louis County Cities Expected Revenues in Sales Taxes From Legalized Marijuana!
Multiple municipal politicians in St. Louis County are depending on the spring campaign to pass a 3% tax on marijuana sales for adult use. Tax revenue isn’t expected to be huge, but it should help as mounting expenditures eat into municipal budgets, according to city officials. Adults 21 and over in Missouri can legally buy marijuana from dispensaries.
The sales tax on marijuana is set at 3%, and local governments now have the legal right to collect it thanks to a referendum initiative. More than 35 municipalities in St. Louis County, Missouri, have decided to put a 3% tax on the April 4 ballot. St. Louis voters will be asked to approve the tax on the ballot.
St. Louis County voters will decide if the tax should be applied to dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county. While several municipalities are seeking voter approval for the tax, not all of them have a dispensary. Webster Groves mayor, Laura Arnold, has urged locals to support the tax in the event that Webster Groves ever adopts one.
I’m not sure we can all count on demand skyrocketing to the point where dispensaries pop up on every street corner. And obviously, there can’t be because of constraints on placement,” Arnold remarked. But I think we can all agree that we need to be prepared in case a dispensary decides to open up a shop in our community.
That’s why we came here, too. It is unknown how much money each city will earn from a marijuana tax, but municipal leaders expect sales from a single shop to yield more than $100,000 to communities. Arnold acknowledged that this sum of money wouldn’t be enough to completely transform larger communities, but she emphasized the value of any additional resources.
Arnold remarked, “And basically, municipal costs are increasing, and we’re not immune to inflation.” We aren’t safe from the effects of the labor market. We need to find new ways to raise money, and this is consistent with previous types of “sin taxes.”
The mayors of dispensary-allowing cities like Ferguson and Sunset Hills have expressed satisfaction with the flexibility afforded by the fee. The public defense system and the costs of running the marijuana program are two of the recipients of the state’s 6% marijuana tax.
Ella Jones, mayor of Ferguson, said the money would be used to fix up the roadways. She went on to say that she hasn’t heard any voter backlash against considering implementing the tax. Unless consumers actually buy marijuana, “it’s not going out of their pocket per se,” Jones argued.
Since Sunset Hills already has a dispensary, Mayor Patricia Fribis claims it was a simple decision to place the tax on the ballot. Unless the board votes to set aside the money for a specific purpose, “it would go in general revenue at this moment,” Fribis added.
As it becomes evident how much money communities with dispensaries are making, Pat Kelly, of the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis, said he expects more cities in the region to place a marijuana tax on the ballot. It’s not free to maintain those kinds of facilities,” Kelly acknowledged.
And that’s a lesson we’ve picked up from looking at how this has been implemented in other jurisdictions. It is still predominately conducted using cash. Therefore, there is an increase in police protection. And I’m sure that if a business did open and the city didn’t have the tax, they’d think about putting it to the voters.