BUTTE - Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Montana, those with medical marijuana cards have a lot of questions about how the new law will affect them. For example, there are concerns supplies could sell out fast.
“A patient who is allowed five ounces a month and maybe only used two ounces a month regularly, you know, they might be buying an extra one or two just on the off chance that maybe in two weeks or two months we do start running low,” said Matt Boyle, the owner of Collective Elevation in Butte.
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“I think what you’re going to see is a lot of people expanding their grows this summer to meet that increased demand, so I think it will eventually level out but this first year is going to be interesting," added the owner of Apogee Gardens in Butte, Evan Kajander.
Price is also a concern. Under the law, the state taxes medical marijuana at 4% while recreational marijuana will be taxed at 20%. County governments can also consider adding a local tax of no more than 4%.
“I don’t believe medical cannabis — or any medicine for that reason — should be taxed and it’s already taxed at 4%,” said Boyle.
Some also don’t like the term ‘recreational’ when talking about cannabis," part of it just seems so silly the way it’s broken down between medical and recreational when everybody on some level is doing it for a medical reason,” said Boyle.
Now that recreational marijuana is legal, some worry the state may find it unnecessary to have the medical marijuana program — something those in the business hope doesn’t happen.
“Whether or not this medical program continues to exist several years down the road, we’ll see. I hope it does, you know, if cannabis is medicine — I wouldn’t be selling it otherwise if it wasn’t — and I think patients using it as medicine do deserve a lower tax rate,” said Kajander.
Those in the dispensary business are sure of one thing is that the state will make many changes over the course of a year.