CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Mo. — Christian County voters will see a measure on their ballots next month regarding recreational marijuana.
The Christian County Commission announced the move Friday morning, and if passed, would add a 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana purchases only.
“This is not a tax on personal property tax like your cars and boats and trailers and all the other things. It’s no tax on that. The only tax is for recreational marijuana,” said Presiding Commissioner Lynn Morris.
It won’t affect people purchasing medical marijuana either.
Morris says the city of Ozark has a similar measure on the ballot and it could be added to their potential tax.
“The state has a 6% sales tax, so you’ve got a 6%. The City of Ozark is asking for 3% and so is the county,” Morris said. “You could have a total of 12% if it passes both the city and the county.”
Dispensaries in Ozark and Nixa say that shouldn’t be possible.
“We don’t believe that it can be used about three for the county and three for the municipality,” Mark Hendren, president of Flora Farms, said.
“I think the city of Nixa would miss out on an opportunity if the county took the whole 3%,” Dana Sullinger, the General Manager of MOJO said.
Morris tells KOLR10, in his own words, the measure can be considered a ‘defense tax’.
“If [things down the road] are going to cause an additional drain to law enforcement or public safety, then I’d rather pay for it with their purchases than with our taxes from for other from other sources,” Morris said.
At MOJO, Sullinger says she wasn’t aware the commission was even considering a county-wide tax.
“I was a little surprised that they didn’t notify me first or have any conversation with me first,”
Sullinger said. “It’s not unexpected that they’re doing this.”
KOLR10 asked Morris if he or the commission met with dispensary owners.
“I’ve not met with the business owners in Christian County to talk to them about it,” Morris said.
Sullinger says the increased tax could drive business away not just from MOJO but from Nixa.
“If it were to pass in Christian County, or [potentially] in Nixa, but not pass in the surrounding areas, then it would be that 3% increase in taxes that our customers would have to pay, and that could essentially drive business elsewhere,” Sullinger said.
Christian County voters will decide on the potential county-wide tax on April 4.