Richland County Voters To Decide On Marijuana Tax Increase During June Election

Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Montana, Richland County is weighing its options regarding marijuana sales tax.

In February, the Richland County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution (Resolution 2022-23), adding a question to the ballot of a local-option marijuana excise tax for Richland County marijuana sales. 

This resolution enables Richland County voters to decide whether to increase the sales tax on medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both by 3%.

The question presented on the ballot will allow voters the option to impose or not impose tax on either all marijuana sold only at any adult-use (non-medical) dispensary, on all marijuana products that are sold strictly at a medical marijuana dispensary, or sales tax on both non-medical and medical marijuana sales. 

The money generated by the new taxes would be divided into three different areas; Richland County would receive 50%, while other municipalities (based on population) within the county would get 45% of the money. The remaining 5% would go to the Montana Department of Revenue.

The tax increase would be added to the existing state tax rate of medical and recreational marijuana. If the ballot questions pass, the tax rate for recreational marijuana sold in Richland County would increase to a total of 23%, while medical marijuana would increase to 7%.  

Voters will have the chance to cast their vote on the issue during the primary election on June 7, 2022.  

Should it pass, the taxes would become effective on Jan. 1. 2023.

Richland County Commissioner Shane Gorder explained that the money generated by the new taxes would benefit Sidney and surrounding communities. 

“We could set that money aside for law enforcement, mental health, and Victim Witness Programs. We feel it is important for our taxpayers to see it on the ballot and make the vote,” said Gorder.

The Montana Legislature’s House Bill 701 enables counties to present voters with a local excise tax option of up to 3% on marijuana products.

Richland County Commissioners felt that it was important for voters to make that choice, therefore initiating the resolution. 

“It is best that it is in the voters’ hands instead of us making the decisions. Between now and the June election, we want to make sure the public is educated on what they will be voting for.”


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