Montana residents have had access to a very limited medical marijuana program for several years now but this week legislators in the House approved Senate Bill 333 which will properly regulate the drug similar to other states' comprehensive programs. If passed, a seed-to-sale tracking system will be put in place, as well as require licenses for any business that sells marijuana products. The bill would also add a tax on marijuana business gross sales instead of consumer sales to help pay for the regulatory structuring of the program. SB 333 now heads to the Montana governor's desk for approval.
The bill pays for the state regulation with a tax charged on medical marijuana providers. SB333 requires state licensing of providers of medical marijuana and marijuana-infused products, dispensaries where products are sold and testing laboratories.
Providers would be charged a 4 percent tax the first year to pay for the cost of setting up the regulatory structure. It would drop to 2 percent in later years to cover ongoing regulatory costs.
“The voters have spoken again,” Essmann said. “They said they wanted a regulated program. It’s time for a choice. You cannot stay in the shadows forever…. We cannot afford to go back to the Wild, Wild West of 2010.”
“I really appreciate the work all the people have put in on it, not just legislators but the grass-roots,” she said. “I think we have a great product here.”