Montana may not be a cannabis tourism hotspot like Colorado or California, but the Big Sky State has had medical marijuana legislation on the books since 2004. Now, after 13 years of operation, Montana will finally begin to make some money off of legal weed, with the state’s first ever medical marijuana sales tax set to take effect at the end of the month.
The new tax comes hot on the heels of a voter-approved measure last November that revived the state’s medical marijuana program from near-death. Back in 2011 the Montana Supreme Court almost killed legal weed by implementing a law that barred dispensaries from having more than three customers. With 30,000 people enrolled in the program at that time, most of the state’s dispensaries had to shut their doors and experts wondered if Montana would be the first state to enact and then completely fold a local cannabis industry.
Thanks to Montana voters though, the state’s medical marijuana industry is back on track, with previously shuttered pot shops reopening their doors and thousands of patients flocking back to purchase their medicine in the comfort of a licensed retail establishment.
According to the Billings Gazette, the new version of Montana medical marijuana will also feature a slight price bump thanks to the incoming tax. The cannabis sales tax will start at 4% for one year after it goes into effect on July 1st and drop to 2% next year. That might not sound like much, but with federal prohibition getting in the way of cannabis banking, some state officials are worrying that there might not be enough room for the new influx of cash.
“We may have to do some changes to our physical buildings to be able to accept cash and maybe have some cash counters and that kind of thing.” Gene Walborn, deputy director of the Montana Department of Revenue, said.
With over 15,000 patients currently registered in the state, and more joining every day, experts estimate that the new tax could bring in over $1,000,000 in the next year. The first round of pot taxes will be collected in October.