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Missoula County considers marijuana tax

Posted at 9:33 AM, Jul 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-02 11:51:20-04

MISSOULA — The Missoula County Commissioners heard from the public about a potential marijuana tax on Thursday.

The Legislature passed House Bill 701 this year, allowing marijuana businesses to operate in some counties.

Missoula County voters approved Initiative 190, legalizing recreational marijuana sales and use.

Now, the commissioners have to decide how to tax the sales.

According to state data, there are about 50 marijuana dispensaries in Missoula County, which could generate about $716,000 a year.

The money would be split between the county and the city.

Commissioner Dave Strohmaier said they want to hear "if folks have some idea if we were to tax marijuana, what should that revenue be put towards."

Some Missoula County residents say the commissioners should implement the 3% tax while others disagree.

Options for money generated by the tax include using it to offset property taxes, fund community needs, and even preventing homelessness.

"There could be a whole range of uses that I think everyone is painfully aware of in terms of addressing needs in Missoula County," Strohmaier said.

Officials noted there is already a 4% state tax on medicinal marijuana.

When the commissioners next meet they will consider if the 3% local tax would be only for recreational use, or for recreational and medical.

"We want to hear from folks, and members of the public, to decide whether to put this on the ballet or not."

If passed the tax would take effect next January.