MISSOULA — Whereas the town and county of Missoula contemplate new zoning across the sale and site of leisure marijuana, they’ll additionally flip an eye fixed towards the vitality consumed by the services that develop the product.
The town’s planning division has been engaged on zoning legal guidelines that can stop the saturation of dispensaries in a single space and guarantee storefronts stay energetic and clear, amongst different issues. The Metropolis Council is predicted to take that difficulty up subsequent week.
The county additionally has launched into an overhaul of its personal zoning codes, and marijuana might be included within the course of now that the manufacturing and sale of the product are authorized in Montana.
“I believe in our zoning replace we might be giving some thought to marijuana develop operations,” mentioned Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier. “It’s been some extent of dialog for us, not simply the situation of such services, but in addition the vitality use.”
Considerations over the energy consumption of marijuana grow operations surfaced within the Consolidated Planning Board final month, significantly across the manufacturing course of that would produce pot on an industrial scale.
A 2012 examine on the carbon footprint of indoor hashish manufacturing estimated that cultivation consumed as a lot as 1% of all electrical energy within the U.S. at the moment. The variety of develop operations has elevated since then, and a few are more likely to function in Missoula.
“A few of them aren’t as unhealthy as cryptocurrency, however some are vitality hogs,” mentioned Strohmaier. “We will’t be set again by that with our vitality, conservation and clear electrical energy objectives.”
Final yr, Missoula County made everlasting its ordinance surrounding cryptocurrency mining operations. Amongst different issues, a mining operation should develop or buy sufficient new renewable vitality to offset its electrical consumption.
Metropolis planners mentioned vitality considerations have risen on their aspect as nicely, however potential treatments or controls haven’t been detailed. In contrast to the county, the town hasn’t handed any measures regulating energy-intensive companies.
“Vitality use is a giant concern,” mentioned Dale Bickell, the CAO of Missoula. “We’re taking steps to handle that as nicely.”
In accordance with the town, round 70 cannabis-related companies are already working in Missoula. Of these, 50 are medical marijuana dispensaries whereas the remaining 20 are cultivators and producers.
Current institutions will be capable of promote leisure merchandise on Jan. 1, and others will be capable of apply for a allow for leisure gross sales by the center of subsequent yr. Missoula voters this week approved a 3% tax on recreational marijuana, as did Billings.
“I’m not conscious of anybody else having it on the poll at this level,” mentioned Chris Lounsbury, the county’s CAO. “I believe we have been the one two counties that ran it on this election.”
The three% tax on leisure marijuana in Missoula County is predicted to web round $300,000. Missoula County will obtain 50% of that income, the town 45%, and the Montana Division of Income 5%.
The Division of Income will acquire the tax and distribute it again to the town and county.
“The tax will begin being collected on Jan. 31,” mentioned Lounsbury. “Hopefully we’ll see that income within the Second Quarter of the calendar yr. It’s not a big sum of income, however it’s one thing.”
The income could possibly be used to carry down property tax will increase and bolster housing.
“The potential makes use of could possibly be to mitigate any future will increase to property taxes and likewise addressing our housing disaster in Missoula County,” mentioned Strohmaier. “There could possibly be different makes use of to which these are put, and we’re actually listening to the general public.”