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Kansas City-area dispensaries, cities weigh in on additional 3% sales tax increase on cannabis

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Posted at 6:16 PM, Mar 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-28 19:38:28-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo — The April 4 election is just a week away, and among several ballot items, Missouri voters will be able to voice their opinions on an additional 3% sales tax on marijuana.

“Whatever the voter feels, we’ll be right behind to back ‘em,” said Jericho Heese, the director of marketing at Fresh Karma Dispensaries. “We think it’ll be something to get over the understanding with consumers, but I think as long as the understanding is laid out, and we understand where those tax dollars are going, that everyone will be happy to pay it.”

When recreational marijuana was approved last November, the amendment gave cities the option to ask their voters if they want to approve this.

Liberty is one of the several cities in the Kansas City area that took action to put this item on next week’s ballot.

“Like alcohol or other things, 95, 99% of the people handle it well, but there's that one to five percent that need additional help from the police, paramedics or fire," Lyndell Brenton, the mayor of Liberty, said. "So we’ve placed the tax with the commitment to our voters that the proceeds will be spent solely for public safety."

If voters opt in on the additional 3%, buyers in Missouri will be paying close to 18% in sales tax on cannabis.

We have two dispensaries and the estimate is it’ll be about $150,000 per dispensary," Brenton said. "So we believe it’ll bring in about $300,000 a year."

Heese says even if the vote passes, Missouri’s sales tax would still stay below average compared to other states where cannabis is legal.

But regardless of the final vote and regardless of a recent weed shortage, Fresh Karma will do everything they can to keep their products cost-effective.

“When looking at it, you have to understand where we came from, and understand that we still have a lot,” Heese said.