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Butte-Silver Bow commissioners weigh vote on marijuana tax

Posted at 9:19 AM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 11:22:51-05

BUTTE — Recreational marijuana sales will be legal in Montana on January 1, 2022, which leaves local governments with a choice.

Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher wants the public to vote on a 3% local tax on sales of recreational and medical marijuana.

Gallagher is presenting this issue to the commissioner who will decide whether or not the question appears before voters.

Gallagher wants to put the tax money collected toward public health services in Butte.

"We would use this money in support of services such as mental health, addiction and prevention, with the police and different entities in our local government that are impacted by this," said Gallagher.

Collective Elevation manager Matt Boyle says he doesn’t mind recreational Marijuana getting taxed the 3%, but medical marijuana shouldn’t be taxed much more.

"Seeing as it's already taxed for medical, it shouldn’t necessarily be taxed an additional 3%, especially considering that a majority of the sales that are going to come for the state and for the county are going to be more of recreational sales," said Boyle.

The state gave local governments the option to implement a maximum 3% local tax for both recreational and medical marijuana options. Montana will apply a 20% state tax on recreational marijuana once sales begin.

There has been a 4% state tax on medical marijuana since 2017.

"When the state did impose a 2% tax initially and then it went up 4%, it just didn’t seem right considering that there’s no other program in the entire U.S. that’s doing this." said Boyle.

The issue will be presented to the commissioners at the next meeting of the whole committee.