Montana is taking a piecemeal approach to cannabis regulations

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Voters in several cities are going to decide how to proceed with cannabis oversight

The adult-use marijuana market is getting closer and closer to finally opening its doors in the state of Montana. While the wait continues, many municipalities are looking at what legal cannabis will look like in their communities. The legalization of general adult-use cannabis was approved by voters late last year and the legislature was tasked with fine-tuning additional details during this spring’s session. Now the ball has been passed to municipalities, which have to figure out things like which districts dispensaries will be allowed in and whether there will be any local option sales taxes that will be implemented on legal marijuana.

While it is certain that legalization will be a done deal in the Treasure State, municipalities have been given the ability to make their own decision. As far as is known, Billings will be one of those that would consider banning cannabis for general use altogether. According to the implementing bill, HB 701, counties where a majority of voters supported legalization would have the opportunity to opt-out of allowing sales, while counties where the measure did not pass would have to explicitly opt-in.

HB 701, which would be charged with establishing a framework for marijuana legalization, calls for a 20% state tax on all non-medical cannabis that goes on sale in the state. In addition, local voters will also have the opportunity to levy an additional 3% municipal tax if they so choose. Missoula County was one of those that recently decided to let voters have the choice on the latter issue. Commissioner Josh Slotnick made it clear that all money raised through the extra tax would go to property tax relief and affordable housing programs.