County tax passed on non-medical marijuana
November 11, 2021
MISSOULA COUNTY – Missoula County was among three counties statewide where voters passed an additional county-wide tax on recreational marijuana. The initiative to impose a three percent tax passed with a sweeping 78%. However, nearly 52% of voters rejected the tax proposed for medical marijuana. These numbers were the final election night report and are unofficial until canvass.
In the 2020 general election, the majority of Montana voters approved Initiative 190 legalizing the sale and tax of marijuana. In the 2021 Montana legislative session, House Bill 701 allowed for the operation of various categories of marijuana businesses and taxation of marijuana retail sales in Montana counties where the majority of voters approved I-190.
Resolution 2021-086 was brought before the Board of County Commissioners in July to determine whether to add the topic to the ballot for the November election. They voted in favor and signed the resolution to bring the measure to the voters.
Based on the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research’s statewide estimates, Missoula County projected the tax would locally generate approximately $716,100 in annual revenue.
In accordance with HB 701, Missoula County would retain 50% of the resulting tax revenue. The City of Missoula, as the only incorporated municipality in the county, would retain 45% of the revenue and the Montana Department of Revenue would retain the remaining 5% to defray costs associated with administering the tax.
Prior to the election, Missoula County said it considered using the tax revenue to help minimize increases to property taxes and address housing issues. Since the tax on medical marijuana did not pass, it will only be taxed the 4% state tax. With the passage of the County’s non-medical marijuana tax, the total tax for recreational marijuana, when added with the state’s 20%, will be 23%. This will go into effect Jan. 31, 2022.
As of Sept. 15, 2021, there were 57 marijuana dispensaries in Missoula County registered with the Montana Department of Revenue including Fat Hippie and Dancing Goat Gardens in Seeley Lake. After Jan. 1, 2022, no new dispensaries will be able to operate for 18 months. Only previously established medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell recreational marijuana during that period.