BOZEMAN — As Montana wraps up its first month of recreational marijuana sales, the state is starting to see a years-long process come together.
“The first weekend was definitely five—five times the business, five times the revenue, five times the people, but it kind of stabilized right after that,” says Elliot Lindsey, owner of Grizzly Pine, a dispensary in Bozeman.
In January, the first week of recreational sales topped close to $3 million; the remaining weeks' sales ranged from $2.6 million to $2.8 million. In the first month, the state expects around $2.5 million in revenue from recreational sales alone. A state agency that will be receiving some of those funds is Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP).
“Any time you can add more resources the department can do more,” says Dustin Temple, deputy director of FWP.
When it comes to marijuana tax revenue, FWP gets a total of 32%. That then gets split up four ways with 20% going to the acquisition fund for the Habitat Montana Program. The remaining three get split up with each getting 4%. Those funds go to the general fund for State Parks, Trails and Recreational Facilities accounts and Non-Game Wildlife accounts.
Temple says most of their work at FWP is wildlife habitat and with the 20% it sets up FWP, and Montana, for success.
“Conservation is a huge part of what we do here at Fish, Wildlife & Parks, so every dollar we get that we can use to protect and conserve habitat for wildlife and for Montanans current and future, that's always a good thing,” says Temple.
As we have seen with the pandemic, people have been getting outside more. “Trails is always an appetite for more trails, more infrastructure,” says Temple.
Ultimately we are still only a month into recreational sales. It's still too early to say how much more the state will make in revenue.