The St. Charles County Council approved putting a 3 percent marijuana sales tax authorized in the adult use “recreational” amendment to the Missouri Constitution on the April 4 ballot, leaving it up to voters to decide whether the County will collect this revenue from the sale of recreational marijuana. The industry suggested passage of recreational marijuana would save money for law enforcement prosecution and courts. Medical marijuana will remain exempt from such local taxation.
While there has not been much enforcement with marijuana, especially since medical marijuana is so easily purchased, it is possible that jurisdictions will expend more resources regulating and protecting the legal dispensaries. As written, the amendment allows residents to approve a tax.
When the proponents of recreational marijuana were trying to convince voters to approve it, I never heard any of them say the State of Missouri would be better off if more citizens smoke marijuana. What they said was that a lot of Missourians were smoking marijuana already and, unlike the rest of us when we drink a Budweiser, a fine Missouri wine, or a shot of Jack Daniels, they are paying no tax.
Consumers currently pay taxes on beer, wine, and liquor as they do other consumer goods. Missouri’s general sales tax is 4.225 percent; St. Charles County’s is 1.725 percent. These two taxes, in conjunction with those from other municipalities, can range from 6.95 percent to 10.45 percent. Missouri’s tax on retail recreational marijuana sales is 6 percent.
Additionally, the State of Missouri levies an excise tax on manufacturers, wholesalers, and solicitors of alcohol: beer, $0.06 per gallon; wine, $0.42 per gallon; and liquor, $2 per gallon. Federal alcohol excise taxes are levied on brewers/distillers: beer, $18 per 31-gallon barrel, or $0.05 per 12-oz can; wine, $1.07-$3.40 per gallon, or $0.21-$0.67 per 750ml bottle, depending on alcohol content; and liquor, $13.50 per proof-gallon, or $2.14 per 750ml 80-proof bottle.
If voters approve the tax for St. Charles County, in accordance with the Missouri Constitution, it will be effective countywide. Other municipalities have similar ballot proposals. Purchases would be subject to taxes from each political subdivision in which they are sold.