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State disburses marijuana sales tax revenue

The imagine shows several green marijuana plants.
Jeff W.
The state will allocate marijuana sales taxes to programs benefitting veterans.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services transferred more than $16 million of funds from marijuana sales taxes to three organizations Tuesday.

That amount includes $13 million from the state's medical marijuana program for the Missouri Veterans Commission, or MVC, to support Missouri veterans.

In 2018, Missouri voters legalized medical marijuana through a constitutional amendment. Part of that amendment requires medical marijuana sold in licensed dispensaries to be taxed at a rate of 4%. Since then, DHSS has allocated nearly $40 million from that tax revenue to MVC.

"It's critical that we receive the cannabis funding..." said Paul Kirchhoff, MVC executive director. "On a day to day basis, it costs a lot to take care of our veterans who have earned that. This goes a long way toward helping us... keep the doors open and the veterans cared for."

The amendment that legalized recreational marijuana in November 2022 required recreational-use cannabis sold in licensed dispensaries to be taxed at a rate of 6% and for funds to be transferred to three Missouri agencies. Over $3.8 million was divided equally this year among MVC, Missouri State Public Defender and DHSS from the adult-use marijuana program.

The funds that MVC receives from recreational and medical marijuana sales tax will help finance health care and other services for military veterans and their dependent families. Kirchhoff said the funding supports seven long-term veterans' care and housing facilities.

The funds allocated to the Missouri State Public Defender can be used only for legal assistance for lower-income Missourians.

DHSS will put its portion toward programs including job placement support, housing, counseling and overdose prevention education.

The department will also operate a grant program that aims to increase access to drug addiction treatment that prioritizes overdose prevention and reversal methods. The program emphasizes reintegrating recipients into their communities.

“It is incredible that Missouri voters passed the adult use amendment less than one year ago, and we are now starting to see the financial impact the program’s success will have on multiple organizations and the Missourians they serve,” said Amy Moore, director of the Division of Cannabis Regulation with DHSS.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.
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