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St. Charles, St. John and Arnold pass 3% recreational marijuana sales tax

A photo of a marijuana plant
Lindsay Fox
In April, over 40 cities and four counties in the St. Louis area approved a 3% sales tax on adult-use marijuana. On Tuesday, voters in St. Charles, St. John and Arnold passed their own 3% sales tax.

Updated Nov. 8 with election results

Three St. Louis-area municipalities voted Tuesday to approve a 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Voters in the cities of Arnold, St. Charles and St. John all voted for the tax, joining a plethora of cities and counties that approved a 3% recreational marijuana tax in April.

The state has an existing 6% tax on adult-use marijuana.

Arnold voters approved the tax with almost 73% of the vote, St. Charles passed it with 74%, and St. John approved it with 66%.

Both St. Louis County and St. Charles County passed a county-wide 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana in April.

Original story from Nov. 2: 

In April, more than 40 cities and four counties in the St. Louis area passed a 3% sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Now, two more cities are looking to join them on Tuesday, Election Day.

The City of St. Charles and St. John, in St. Louis County, both have a proposed 3% recreational marijuana tax on the ballot.

Missouri voters passed an initiative in 2022 legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. The state tax on recreational marijuana is 6%.

Local taxes are allowed if they are approved by a majority of voters.

Neither St. Charles nor St. John currently has dispensaries in their jurisdictions.

Robert Connell, city manager for St. John, said the main reason the tax is on the ballot is because officials wanted to be proactive.

“We want to be transparent to those that are wanting to come into the city with a dispensary. And so they would know upfront that we have this 3% tax,” Connell said. “We didn't feel that it would be right to have a dispensary come into town, and then we vote for it after the fact.”

Lawrence Dobrosky, city administrator for St. Charles, said officials didn’t put it on the April ballot because they already were trying to pass an online sales tax.

“We had a ballot initiative for use tax, the internet sales tax that most cities had already passed. And we didn't want to put two taxes on it at the same time,” Dobrosky said.

As to where the revenue would go, Dobrosky said the primary reason for putting it on the ballot would be to have revenue toward responsible cannabis consumption.

“Like most cities, the tax is really our revenue source to be able to collect aid in future enforcement,” Dobrosky said.

Dobrosky said the city hasn’t heard a lot from people who are strongly for or against the tax.

For St. John, Connell said he has heard a lot from voters on the tax.

“They're mostly senior citizens, and they’re for it. They're actually excited to see a dispensary come into the city of St. John and so they're going to vote for the tax,” Connell said.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Sarah Kellogg is a Missouri Statehouse and Politics Reporter for St. Louis Public Radio and other public radio stations across the state.