A Deeper Look at Ballot Measures

Voters to decide marijuana and tourism tax questions

By John Sharp

KCMO voters will vote on four ballot issues in the April 4 municipal and school board elections, and Grandview voters will vote on two.

Three of these issues, if approved, will impose a 3% tax on the retail sale of recreational marijuana as authorized by the constitutional amendment approved by Missouri voters last November legalizing the possession and sale of recreational marijuana by adults with certain restrictions.

Voters in both cities and unincorporated parts of Jackson County will vote on a countywide sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Jackson County

Jackson County Question 1 provides that revenue from the proposed 3% tax will be used to fund veterans support services and other community services through a dedicated special revenue fund.

The measure’s ballot language notes that revenue from the proposed tax also can be used “for other purposes authorized for the expenditure of County general revenue” which gives the county broad discretion on the use of these funds for other priorities. 


Grandview’s unnumbered question does not specify how funds from the measure will be used if the measure passes, but city officials have repeatedly said revenue from the tax if it’s approved will be used to fund essential basic services through its General Fund which supports nearly all of the city’s basic services such as police & fire protection, parks & recreation and street & sidewalk improvements.

“We would direct recreational marijuana revenues to the General Fund,” said Assistant City Administrator & Director of Finance Kirk Decker, “as that provides more flexibility and agility to react to changing priorities from year-to-year.”

Kansas City MO Question 1

KCMO’s Question 1 provides that revenue from its proposed marijuana sales tax will be used for the exclusive purpose of funding neighborhood quality of life improvements and specifically names “refuse and neighborhood cleanup services, homeless prevention services and violence prevention services” as programs that will be funded through the City Health Department.

Kansas City Question 2

KCMO Question 2 imposes the same 7.5% convention and tourism tax on room rentals now paid by guests at hotels and motels to all lodging establishments, including short term rentals, that have not been subject to the tax.

Kansas City Question 3

KCMO Question 3 authorizes the city to raise its current daily fee on occupied hotel and motel rooms as much as $1.50 a day and to extend the total fee to short term rentals. 

City staff estimates these measures, if approved, will generate millions of dollars annually to promote Kansas City as a site for conventions and tourism to boost the local economy.

Downtown Kansas City at 12th Street and Wyandotte. If Question 3 passes, the city will raise fees on occupied hotel rooms and short-term rentals to generate money for tourism.

All five of these measures only require a simple majority to pass.  With the election just a few days away, there seems to be no widespread organized opposition to any of them.

Cass County

Residents of Cass County will also decide on a 3% countywide sales tax on the retail sale of marijuana. The County has not specified how tax revenues will be used.

The City of Belton has a citywide 3% marijuana sales tax on the ballot. If voters approve the measure, marijuana buyers in Belton would pay an additional 6% on all sales (city combined with the Cass County tax). Belton would direct revenue toward public safety issues.


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