September 03, 2018, Montana
The sparsely-populated western state of Montana has successfully collected $1.8 million taxes from statewide legal medical marijuana operations. It is important to mention that this is the first year of taxation of the state’s MMJ program. The director of the state’s Department of Revenue Gene Walborn has shared these numbers with the local media.
According to Walborn, the legal MMJ businesses in the state have made the sales of $45 million in the last fiscal year. She has termed the progress and growth of Montana’s legal MMJ industry more than satisfactory. She has also admitted the department was initially concerned with the tax challenges that come with the establishment of an altogether new industry.
Montana started taxing the MMJ industry from July last year after the ratification of Senate Bill 333. The state set the tax rate of four percent for the first year. The bill had also defined the use of collected revenue. For instance, it would be used to streamline the existing regulatory infrastructure. This includes testing, inspections, and seed-to-sale tracking system. The Senate also decided to cut the tax rate by half in the second year of legalization.
Collecting nearly two million dollars in the first year of taxation is no mean feat for the state with the total population of just over a million. As per the fiscal analysis in the light of Senate Bill 333, it was initially estimated that the state would be able to collect around $750,000 in the first year at the tax rate of four percent. But the actual figure suggests that the state has succeeded in collecting nearly three times more than the estimated amount.
Walborn has also thanked the local medical marijuana industry for its cooperation with the department. According to her, the Department succeeded in collecting MMJ taxes without any overwork because the majority of business paid their taxes electronically, contrary to the department’s expectations.
This year has been really happening for Montana’s Medical Marijuana program, and in a good way. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services rolled out the rules for MMJ operations at the beginning of this year. Formal enrollment of MMJ patients has also started this year. Meanwhile, regulators have put an effective mechanism in place to track the cannabis supply chain.
A growing medical cannabis program
As of last month, there were 420 registered medical cannabis providers operating in the state. The state has licensed three testing labs as well. One more testing lab is going to get its license really soon.
The number of registered patients in the state has also been increasing. According to the numbers from July, 26,549 patients have been enrolled in the MMJ program. It is worth mentioning that 1,000 new MMJ patients are signing up every month. For that matter, the state will have to increase the number of registered medical cannabis providers. All this natural expansion of statewide medical cannabis operations will eventually translate into more revenue, even at lower tax rates.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]