HELENA — After months of preparation and planning, leisure marijuana gross sales in Montana are beginning Saturday morning. Right here is a few background, continuously requested questions, and perspective.
MARIJUANA SALES: WHERE AND WHEN
Montana Initiative 190 handed 56% to 43% again in November 2020, however that does not imply you’ll purchase marijuana anyplace within the state.
Individuals dwelling in what are referred to as “inexperienced counties” – the place a majority of residents voted in favor – will likely be allowed to have leisure gross sales.
Residents of “pink counties” – the place voters opted out of authorized gross sales -will not have leisure gross sales however nonetheless have the flexibility to make the change so long as they put it as much as a vote.
Whereas marijuana will likely be authorized in Montana, it is nonetheless not authorized on the federal degree, so which means having marijuana at Glacier Nationwide Park and Yellowstone Nationwide Park will nonetheless not be allowed.
One other factor you need to know is that medical marijuana companies that had a license on or earlier than November 3, 2020, would be the solely ones allowed to promote leisure marijuana for the primary 18 months.
After July 1, 2023, new companies will likely be allowed to use for permits.
The Montana legislation permits for folks over the age of 21 to buy as much as one ounce of marijuana with a 20% state gross sales tax added to the acquisition. Different localities could have a further tax.
Marijuana companies will solely be allowed to open from 9 a.m. to eight p.m. Montanans will likely be allowed to have two mature crops and two seedlings of their dwelling.
Public consumption of marijuana can get you a civil penalty, and driving under the influence of marijuana will nonetheless be unlawful.
SOME MEDICAL USERS ARE CONCERNED
Now that leisure marijuana is authorized in Montana, some folks with medical marijuana playing cards have questions on how the brand new legislation will have an effect on them. There are issues that provides may promote out quick.
“A affected person who’s allowed 5 ounces a month and possibly solely used two ounces a month often, , they could be shopping for an additional one or two simply on the off likelihood that possibly in two weeks or two months we do begin operating low,” stated Matt Boyle, the proprietor of Collective Elevation in Butte.
Apogee Gardens in Butte proprietor Evan Kajander added, “I believe what you’re going to see is lots of people increasing their grows this summer time to satisfy that elevated demand, so I believe it would ultimately degree out however this primary yr goes to be fascinating.”
Montana medical marijuana customers involved as leisure hashish turns into legalized
Worth can be a priority. Beneath the legislation, the state taxes medical marijuana at 4 p.c. Leisure marijuana will likely be taxed at 20 p.c. County governments can even think about including a neighborhood tax of not more than 4 p.c.
“I don’t consider medical hashish or any medication for that cause ought to be taxed and it’s already taxed at 4 p.c,” stated Boyle.
Some don’t just like the time period ‘leisure’ when speaking about hashish. “A part of it simply appears so foolish the way in which it’s damaged down between medical and leisure when all people on some degree is doing it for a medical cause,” stated Boyle.
Now that leisure marijuana will likely be legalized some fear the state could discover it pointless to have the medical marijuana program. One thing these within the enterprise hope doesn’t occur.
“Whether or not or not this medical program continues to exist a number of years down the street, we’ll see. I hope it does, , if hashish is medication – I wouldn’t be promoting it in any other case if it wasn’t – and I believe sufferers utilizing it as medication do deserve a decrease tax fee,” stated Kajander.
MARIJUANA RETAILER PREPS FOR LEGALIZATION
Reporter Lindsey Stenger talked with the workers of Ganja Goddess in Helena about how they’re getting ready for January 1st.
“December was actually devoted to getting the identify out and the phrase out that issues had been going to be taking place, in addition to stocking up on issues that we wanted,” stated Teria Gioch.
Marijuana retailer prepares for legalization in Montana
“I’m very excited for this motion and to have the ability to educate folks on hashish. As a Montanan I by no means thought I’d see the day that this may occur in my lifetime, so it’s very thrilling,“ stated Keeva Beddow.
CANNABIS CONTROL DIVISION IS READY
The Hashish Management Division on the Montana Division of Income says it is prepared for marijuana gross sales. Kristan Barbour, division administrator, stated the company spent Friday implementing new licensing and tax techniques and ensuring marijuana suppliers’ techniques on the level of sale are functioning accurately.
“There’s nothing at this level that may forestall it from taking place – in need of possibly an influence outage the place these techniques simply are down, and we do have protocols in place to permit for, if an influence grid goes out, how these companies can pivot and make gross sales and monitor that knowledge individually,” she stated. “We really feel like we’ve tried to essentially handle something that might probably occur, in need of the stuff you simply can’t guess.”
Beginning Saturday, dispensaries that had been licensed previous to November 3, 2020, can start promoting marijuana to leisure clients over the age of 21, in addition to licensed medical clients – so long as they’re in a county that enables adult-use gross sales. The tax fee will stay 4% for medical marijuana gross sales and will likely be 20% for leisure gross sales.
MT Division of Income is prepared for leisure marijuana launch
Barbour estimates about 380 dispensaries across the state will likely be eligible to begin promoting to adult-use clients Saturday, they usually anticipate virtually all of them to take action. One of many last items of the puzzle got here into place final week, when DOR finalized the preliminary units of guidelines for the leisure marijuana system.
“I’d say we did get the entire vital parts of Home Invoice 701 stood up in time beneath our guidelines for January 1,” stated Barbour. “We do know we’ve got some necessary gadgets that we have to handle going into the primary a part of 2022. I believe crucial a part of that will likely be our packaging and labeling requirements.”
Barbour says, for now, they’ll permit dispensaries to observe both the present labeling necessities for medical marijuana or the brand new insurance policies set out in HB 701, till they’ve time to totally transition.
The division made a number of adjustments to the foundations in response to public remark – notably eradicating a provision that may have banned the sale of CBD merchandise in dispensaries and one other that advocates frightened may maintain folks with minor legal convictions from working within the trade. In addition they addressed some issues from state lawmakers, together with taking out a proposed rule that may have allowed some outside marijuana growers to extend their cultivation house.
Barbour stated DOR will likely be monitoring for attainable violations as soon as leisure gross sales start, however she’s optimistic there gained’t be many egregious points.
“From what we’re listening to from the trade and from what we’ve seen, everybody needs to do that properly – they need to achieve success at this,” she stated. “That is their alternative to essentially present that these are professional companies who’re following the legislation. So our concern will not be whether or not they’re going to behave out, it’s actually simply ensuring that they know that we’re checking and that we’re holding individuals who aren’t going to observe the legislation accountable.”
Barbour stated the division ought to have a fundamental thought of the quantity of marijuana gross sales pretty rapidly, however they gained’t speculate instantly on how a lot of that will likely be leisure gross sales or how a lot it would translate to in tax revenues. Taxes will likely be due quarterly, so the primary data on revenues will probably be out there in April.