Taxing questions surround medical marijuana proposals

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BRANSON MO NEWS: The question of how much to tax medical marijuana is one of the key differences among the three proposals voters will be choosing from in November.All three ballot initiatives would levy a tax on medical marijuana. Proposition C would set the tax at 2 percent, New Approach Missouri’s Amendment 2 would tax its product at 4 percent, and the “Find the Cures” initiative, or Amendment 3, at 15 percent.Those amounts do not include other taxes that could be levied in addition.

The campaign for “Find the Cures” differentiates itself from the other two initiatives by enshrining a 15 percent flat tax in the text of the constitutional amendment, the idea being that other taxes could not be added on top of it.But according to experts, it is unclear how a court would rule on the legality of the flat tax concept.The main point of contention is whether or not, in the event that the “Find the Cures” initiative passes with the most votes, Amendment 3’s dedicated 15-percent sales tax will be enshrined in the Missouri constitution, or will be deemed unconstitutional and subject to state, local and use taxes on top of the 15 percent sales tax.The text of Amendment 3 states that, “No taxes or fees shall be imposed on the sale of medical marijuana except as provided in this Article.”It also states if that is ruled to be unconstitutional, “the taxes imposed pursuant to this section are separate from and in addition to any general state and local sales and use taxes that apply to retail sales of tangible personal property.”Eapen Thampy, lobbyist with Heartland Priorities who represents the Better Way Missouri PAC, which has sought to legalize medical marijuana through the state legislature, said that in Missouri, “we don’t tax medicine,” but “all of these proposals …



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