Perryville pushing for marijuana tax


Perryville City Administrator Brent Buerck understands that Perry County did not vote for the legalization of marijuana. During the November general election Amendment 3 passed in the state of Missouri to legalize recreational marijuana. The amendment failed with a 60-40 percent split within Perry County, while it passed overall within Missouri with a 53-47 percent split.
“Most of rural Missouri voted it down,” Buerck said. “The vote was driven by St. Louis, Kansas City and other larger areas. It was an urban-rural issue.”
Included in this constitutional amendment is the ability for cities and counties to add a three percent sales tax to such sales. Even though Perryville doesn’t currently have a dispensary, staff would recommend putting the question to voters in the upcoming April election.
“There are a rash of these all being done across the state,” Brent Buerck said at the Dec. 20 Board of Aldermen meeting. “I would reach out to the county commission to get something together. I really don’t think it would be a big number. One million dollars in sales would be about $30,000.”
“Now that it’s here we want to tax it because there will be some implications on having it, such as more taxes and more policing and things of that nature.”
Buerck noted that with the tax it could deter citizens from using it as well, which could lessen the amount of marijuana in the county.
“If we tax it, then less people may use it, which is what a majority of people in Perry County wants,” Buerck said. “Even though the people voted no, we want people to understand the logic between why we are asking for a tax. It’s coming, so let’s prepare for it. There will be some social implications so we want to have some tax resources to address those concerns.”

Illinois has the second highest recreational cannabis tax in the country, starting at 31.25 percent, which is only less than the state of Washington.
Marijuana legalization in Missouri took effect Dec. 8, capping a 50-year effort to end prohibition and allowing individuals to legally possess 3 ounces or less of marijuana flower.
Consumers — defined as individuals 21 and older — may legally possess marijuana starting Thursday, but legal sales of marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries won’t start immediately, according to the Department of Health and Senior Services.
Medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to apply to “convert” their licenses to comprehensive ones starting Dec. 8 The state expects to begin the process of converting those licenses when regulations are filed. The state’s more than 200,000 medical marijuana patients will be able to buy more marijuana starting Thursday.
The constitutional amendment increases patients’ monthly allowance from four ounces to six ounces, Cox said. And, the constitutional amendment allows patients to renew their cards every three years, rather than every year.
Perryville does not currently have a dispensary in town, so right now nothing would change. While the state as a whole approved the marijuana measure, Perry County narrowly voted it down.
“Not knowing if or when we will have a dispensary, it makes sense to do it now,” Buerck said. “We would like to have everything on the table and clear before have a need for it.”