Montana GOP Lawmaker Desires To Eradicate Leisure Dispensaries


Greater than two years after voters permitted a measure legalizing leisure hashish, and greater than a yr after the launch of the state’s regulated marijuana market, a Montana lawmaker desires to undo all of that. 

Final week, Republican state Sen. Keith Regier launched a bill that features a slate of reforms to Montana’s hashish coverage, most notably “eliminating adult-use dispensaries.” 

According to Montana Free Press, the invoice “moreover raises the state tax on medical marijuana from 4% to twenty% and places important limits on medical marijuana efficiency and allowable quantities for possession,” and though it will as soon as once more prohibit leisure hashish, it will not “re-criminalize marijuana possession for adults.”

Regier’s invoice states plainly its goal: “scale back the demand for marijuana gross sales.”

Montana Free Press has more background on the proposal:

“If handed into legislation, the invoice would drastically scale back the potential client base for current marijuana companies and eradicate a major income for state coffers. Since adult-use gross sales started in January 2022, Montana has generated $54 million in tax income from the business. Lower than one-tenth of that income got here from medical marijuana taxes. At present, leisure clients pay a 20% tax to the state; some counties add an extra 3% native tax.

The outlet reported that the invoice would be the topic of a listening to on Wednesday within the Senate Enterprise, Labor and Financial Affairs Committee.

Practically 57% of Montana voters permitted Initiative 190 in 2020, which legalized marijuana for adults aged 21 and older, and likewise laid the groundwork for hashish gross sales to be taxed. 

Leisure hashish gross sales launched final yr, bringing in more than $200 million to the state in 2022.

In keeping with the state, leisure marijuana gross sales amounted to $202,947,328 in 2022, whereas medical hashish gross sales totaled $93,616,551. (Voters in Montana legalized medical marijuana therapy in 2004.)

The 2 mixed to generate a grand whole of $303,563,879 in marijuana gross sales final yr. 

Montana generated $41,989,466 in tax income off leisure pot gross sales, in response to the Division of Income, and $3,744,662 in taxes from medical hashish gross sales. Mixed, the state pulled in $45,734,128 in tax income from marijuana gross sales in 2022.

Marijuana reform has been a sizzling subject in Montana’s legislative session this yr. 

Earlier this month, the Enterprise and Labor Committee “heard testimony on two marijuana-related payments,” according to local news station KTVH –– one among which “would prohibit marijuana companies in Montana from selling their enterprise or model in print, over TV and radio or utilizing a billboard,” whereas the opposite “would revise the required warning labels that marijuana companies should placed on their merchandise, to say that marijuana use throughout being pregnant may lead to ‘congenital anomalies, and inherited cancers developed by a toddler later in life.’”

The station reported that the proposed ban on promoting “drew opposition from marijuana companies and from the Montana Newspaper Affiliation,” with opponents saying that “most individuals within the business have gone to nice lengths to verify their promoting follows the present guidelines, and many of the points persons are involved about have come from a couple of dangerous actors.”

There have been debates over different hashish payments, too, together with one which “would require marijuana growers and producers of marijuana merchandise to put in air filtration programs to deal with issues about odor,” according to KTVH, in addition to a number of proposed payments to alter how the state distributes the marijuana tax income.

“Particularly, they suggest eradicating a bit in state legislation that directs a proportion of taxes from marijuana gross sales towards Habitat Montana – a program that makes use of state funds for wildlife habitat conservation initiatives. Gov. Greg Gianforte has stated this system has greater than sufficient funding and now not wants the marijuana income,” the station reported.

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