Commissioners review marijuana resolution
July 28, 2022
Sanders County Commissioners last week reviewed a resolution they plan to have on the November ballot for county voters. Resolution No. 2022-06 details the county’s intent to have voters decide whether or not to tax recreational and medical marijuana sales at the county level.
House Bill 701 passed by the Montana Legislature allows counties to impose a 3% tax on marijuana sales, but the measure must be passed by the voters in the county. HB701 applies only to counties in which the majority of voters voted to approve Initiative 190 in the 2020 election, which made recreational marijuana sales legal in the state. The majority of Sanders County voters voted for Initiative 190, giving the county the option to impose the local tax.
On the November ballot for the general election, voters will answer two questions regarding taxation of medical and non-medical marijuana sales. The questions are separated by the type of sales so voters can decide to vote for or against none, both or one of the two categories of marijuana sales.
The first question on the ballot will be “Shall Sanders County impose a 3% local-option marijuana excise tax on the retail value of all non-medical marijuana and non-medical marijuana products sold withing Sanders County?” The second question will be “Shall Sanders County impose a 3% local-option marijuana excise tax on the retail value of all medical marijuana and medical marijuana products sold withing Sanders County?” Voters will cast votes for or against each of those questions.
Under HB701, if voters decide on the county marijuana tax, 50% of the resulting revenue will be retained by the county, 45% will be provided to the municipalities within the county based on the ratio of the city or town’s population to the total county population, and the remaining 5% of the tax revenue would be retained by the state Department of Revenue to defray costs associated with administering the tax.
The county commissioners held a public hearing on the resolution in May. One community member attended, Connor Reishus, who operates a dispensary in Trout Creek. At the public meeting, Reishus expressed his opposition to the local tax, saying the state already taxes retail sales 20%.