Marijuana tax finalized for April ballot

With only two candidates in a two-person city council race, and a copy-and-paste recreational marijuana tax initiative crafted by the Missouri Municipal League, the Cameron City Council’s finalization of the two major items on the April ballot seemed like housekeeping. 

Despite a predicted to only bring in two-thirds of the $150,000 originally forecasted by the Missouri Municipal League, the Cameron City Council unanimously approved moving forward with placing the 3-cent sales tax on the April ballot. 

“In the language, there is no specific destination for what that 3 percent might be used for. That will be up to the city council to decide as we go through the budget process,” Cameron City Manager Steve Rasmussen said. 

As previously reported by the Citizen-Observer, the recreational marijuana tax began making its way to the city council last December - a month after Missouri voters approved Amendment 3, which legalized recreational marijuana sales. Earlier this month, Cameron Utilities Director Zac Johnson - filling in for Rasmussen - said the initial $150,000 estimate provided by the Missouri Municipal League used figures based on cannabis dispensaries in metropolitan areas and not rural committees.

“[Missouri Municipal League] tried to put together some projections initially of what that could generate for the city. Their best guess was an average dispensary would bring in $150,000 of additional sales tax revenue. Obviously, that is a statewide average based on the number of dispensaries. I think that is a little optimistic for Cameron. I don’t think it would be in the amount of $150,000,” Johnson said. 

While presenting the issue to the City Council in December, Cameron Attorney Padraic Corcoran said the entirety of Cameron’s recreational marijuana sales tax revenue coming from one dispensary, Bloom Medicinals, he doubted their marijuana sales tax revenues would reach the MML’s original forecast. 

“Three percent is what the (Missouri) constitution authorizes. And also, to piggyback off of what Zac said, to generate $150,000 the dispensary would need to generate $5 million in retail sales,” Corcoran said. 

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