BUTTE, Mont. – When the state of Montana legalized the sale of recreational marijuana, it also gave counties the ability to impose a 3% local tax on all recreational sales.
That tax, along with a separate proposal for drug sales, could be coming to Butte-Silver Bow, and business reception is mixed.
In early March, the Butte-Silver Bow Board of Commissioners approved a proposal to impose a 3% tax on recreational marijuana sales, as well as a separate proposal for a 3% tax on marijuana sales. for medical purposes. Voters will have the chance to show their support or opposition to these proposals in the June primaries.
Chief Executive JP Gallagher argues that collecting these taxes could bring in an additional $200,000 a year to the county, which can then be used to help address addiction issues.
“The money we plan to raise for this through the tax will help our social programs here in our community, dealing with addictions and mental health and those things,” Gallagher said. “That’s where we aim to use the funding that will come from this tax.”
But not everyone is totally in favor of the idea. Matthew Boyle, director of Collective Elevation, thinks imposing a local tax on recreational marijuana would be good, but taxing medical marijuana would be a step too far.
“You look at the majority of other states that run medical cannabis programs, and they don’t tax this drug,” Boyle said. “They only tax the recreational aspect.”
“I support taxing the recreational aspect of cannabis, but oppose its medical practice,” Boyle continued. “I don’t think medical cannabis should be taxed. Medicine, in general, shouldn’t be taxed.”
If approved by voters, the local tax on medical marijuana would be in addition to the current 4% tax levied by the state, a tax that Boyle said would be eliminated after legalizing recreational sales. But that didn’t happen.
“The Montana Medical [Marijuana] The program has been around for a few years now,” Boyle said. “Originally, when the tax was established for the medical program, it was only supposed to exist for a few years and then it was supposed to disappear. And it never went away; it’s still there.”
“It’s kind of unfair and unfair in a sense that this tax is still going on and they’re looking to double down,” Boyle continued.
As for the recreational side, Boyle has been anticipating a local tax since November and has already factored it into the Collective Elevation budget. Boyle doesn’t believe additional taxes would have a big impact on the number of customers his business receives.
In addition to the marijuana tax proposals, the Board of Commissioners also approved a property tax proposal that will fund the 15-90 Search and Rescue Team. County residents will also be able to vote on this proposal in June.