Montana Collects $1.8 Million in Medical Cannabis Tax Revenue in First Year

The state of Montana accumulated $1.8 million in the first year of taxing the medical marijuana industry, according to government officials. The Montana Department of Revenue also reported that the state’s medicinal cannabis businesses had generated about $45 million in earnings during the first year of taxation.

State revenue manager Gene Walborn told press that the section was happy with the rollout of taxation on Montana’s marijuana market.

“We were pleasantly surprised on how well it went,” he explained . “It being a new tax, we were worried what challenges you get with a new tax. ”

Medical Marijuana Taxes Began Last Year

Montana began levying a tax that is quarterly with the enactment of Senate Bill 333 last year on cannabis companies, an overhaul of the state’s medical marijuana program. Montana has not legalized the use of cannabis.

Taxes for the year were set at four per cent and began on July 1, 2017. The revenue generated will be used to create additional state infrastructure such as a monitoring system, inspections, and testing. The tax is forecast to stay at the rate for the near future and was then reduced to 2 percent as of July 1 of this year.

The bud taxes generated more than $1.3 million dollars during the 2018 fiscal year. Taxes for July of this year totaled $458,000 and will be included in revenue figures for the year 2019. Taxes collected since the program began last year came to a total of $1.8 million, according to state officials.

Tax Revenue Exceeds Expectations

The taxes raised were almost two times as much as state officials anticipated. A fiscal analysis of Senate Bill 333 determined the first year, that the 4% tax would raise approximately $750,000. Director Walborn said that the state’s medical marijuana providers were very cooperative. He also noted that providers paid their taxes than anticipated, resulting in the department handling less money than anticipated.

The Montana Department of Human and Health Services began issuing rules earlier this season to govern the state ’ s medical marijuana program. The department has begun licensing cannabis companies and enrolling patients in the program. Regulators have also begun to track cannabis products throughout the state.

The state has also begun inspecting cannabis companies including testing labs, cultivation facilities, edibles kitchens, producers of cannabis-infused products, and dispensaries.

As of July, Montana officials reported that a total of 420 medical marijuana providers had registered with the state. 72 are cannabis dispensaries. So far, three cannabis testing labs have been licensed by the state, with another permit pending as of July.

The number of patients registered in the state’s medical marijuana program the year exceeded what government officials predicted. Montana had 26,549 patients registered in the cannabis program as of last month. The number of patients began after the state ’ s Initiative 182 was passed growing rapidly in 2016. That step made it easier for patients to enroll in the program. More than 1,000 new patients signed up each month during 2017, according to state officials.

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