Legal recreational marijuana sales have been legal in Montana for just over a year now, as you're surely aware. In November 2020, Montana voters approved Initiative 190, which legalized cannabis for adults aged 21 and over. Retail sales commenced on January 1, 2022. Under the law, adults can possess up to one ounce of cannabis and cultivate up to four plants for personal use. The Montana Department of Revenue regulates and licenses cannabis businesses, including dispensaries, cultivators, and manufacturers.

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Sales numbers have been good.

Really good, in fact. As I wrote in December, sales of cannabis products in Montana (recreational and medical marijuana combined) have averaged around $25 million dollars PER MONTH. From January 2022 to January 2023 a total of $328,510,417 in cannabis sales were reported in Montana. Taxes from those first-year sales have dropped over $49.8 million into the state's lap. So, how is that money allotted?

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They might not like marijuana, but they love that extra money.

If it's one thing all politicians seem to love, it's spending money. Even the most ardent anti-pot members of our current legislature are probably having a difficult time ignoring that extra $49.8 million in tax revenue.  Officials laid out fairly clearly where marijuana taxes get allotted when they drafted the legislation. Here's how it breaks down.

  • $6 million to the Healing and Ending Addiction through Recovery and Treatment (HEART) account established in 16-12-122, MCA.
  • 20% to the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to be used solely as funding for wildlife habitat
  • 4% to the state park account
  • 4% to the trails and recreational facilities account
  • 4% to the nongame wildlife account
  • 3% or $200,000, whichever is less, to the veterans and surviving spouses state special revenue account
  • $150,000 to the board of crime control to fund crisis intervention team training
  • The remainder goes to the general fund

Do you feel like Montana's marijuana tax revenues are being used wisely? If not, where would you like to see the money go? Drop me an email at Michael@BillingsMix.com.

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