Missouri Localities All Have Their Hand In The Cookie Jar

As more states legalize the recreational use of marijuana, there has been some confusion and controversy surrounding the taxation of these products. In particular, there has been confusion around “double-stacking” local taxes on top of state taxes, which some cities and counties have attempted to implement.

What Do We Have Here?

One recent example of this confusion comes from Missouri, where several cities and counties have proposed or implemented additional taxes in addition to the state’s 15% excise tax on recreational marijuana sales. These additional taxes are known as “double-stacking” because they add a second layer of taxation on top of the state tax.

The idea behind double-stacking is to allow local governments to raise additional revenue from marijuana sales. Proponents argue that this is necessary to cover the costs of regulating and enforcing the new industry. Opponents, however, argue that double-stacking is unfair to consumers and businesses and could ultimately harm the industry by driving up prices and making it more difficult for small businesses to compete.

One of the main concerns with double-stacking is that it could lead to higher prices for consumers. Since the additional taxes are passed on to the consumer, this means that recreational marijuana could become more expensive in cities and counties that implement these taxes. This could make it more difficult for low-income individuals to access the product and could ultimately hurt the industry by reducing demand.

In addition to the potential impact on consumers, double-stacking could also have negative consequences for businesses. Specifically, it could make it more difficult for small businesses to compete with larger, established players in the industry. Since small businesses may not have the resources to absorb the additional taxes, they may be forced to pass these costs on to consumers, making their products less competitive. This could ultimately lead to a consolidation of the industry, with larger players dominating the market.

Despite these concerns, some cities and counties have already implemented or proposed double-stacking taxes. For example, in St. Louis County, voters recently approved a 2% tax on recreational marijuana sales, in addition to the state’s 15% excise tax. The city of St. Louis is also considering a similar tax. Other cities and counties, however, have rejected the idea of double-stacking, recognizing the potential negative consequences.

states legalize the recreational use of marijuana

Solutions Solutions…

So, what’s the solution to this issue? One possibility is for states to establish clear guidelines around local taxation of recreational marijuana. This could include restrictions on the types of taxes that cities and counties are allowed to impose, as well as limits on the tax rates. By doing so, states could ensure that local governments are able to raise the revenue they need to regulate and enforce the industry without driving up prices or harming small businesses.

Another possibility is for cities and counties to work together to establish consistent tax policies. By doing so, they could avoid the confusion and uncertainty that can arise when neighboring cities or counties have different tax rates. This could also help to prevent a race to the bottom, where cities and counties try to outdo each other by imposing ever-higher taxes on marijuana sales.

Ultimately, the key to successful taxation of recreational marijuana will be to strike a balance between the need to raise revenue and the need to ensure that the industry remains competitive and accessible to all. This will require careful consideration of the potential impacts of different tax policies, as well as an ongoing collaboration between state and local governments, businesses, and consumers.

successful taxation of recreational marijuana


In conclusion, the issue of double-stacking local taxes on top of state taxes on recreational marijuana sales has sparked controversy and confusion in many states. While some cities and counties have embraced this approach as a way to raise additional revenue, others have rejected it as potentially harmful to consumers and small businesses. 

To find a solution to this issue, states and local governments will need to work together to establish clear guidelines and policies that balance the need for revenue with the need for accessibility and competition in the industry. By doing so, they can ensure that the benefits of legalizing recreational marijuana are realized while minimizing the potential negative impacts of excessive taxation.

It’s worth noting that the issue of double-stacking local taxes is just one of many challenges facing the emerging recreational marijuana industry. Other issues include the need for standardized testing and labeling requirements, the development of effective regulations for edibles and other non-smokable products, and the establishment of fair and equitable licensing and permitting processes.

Despite these challenges, there is reason for optimism about the future of recreational marijuana. As more states legalize the drug, there is growing recognition of the potential economic and social benefits that can come from a well-regulated industry. By working together to address the challenges that arise, states and local governments can ensure that these benefits are realized, while minimizing the potential negative impacts of excessive taxation and other issues. 

Read more on the current issues facing the cannabis industry here.

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