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Three Montana counties will vote on local taxes on marijuana sales

Voters in three counties this week have one more chance to weigh in on local cannabis taxation policy before sales begin in January.

Voters in roughly half Montana's counties approved recreational marijuana sales last year, and only businesses in those counties will be able to sell recreational marijuana.

Recreational cannabis sales will be taxed at 20%. Medical marijuana will continue to be taxed at 4% of retail sales.

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Montana Department of Revenue
Counties in green approved recreational marijuana sales last year. Counties in red will not allow the retail sale of marijuana.

Montana Public Radio contacted all 56 of the state’s election offices and found that Park County, Missoula County and Yellowstone County are asking voters to add an additional 3 percent local-option sales tax. Voters in the latter two counties will decide separate optional taxes on recreational and medicinal marijuana.

Park County’s proposed tax would apply across the board to both recreational and medicinal cannabis. Park County Commissioner Steve Caldwell says if it's approved, the tax would help offset property taxes.

“Part of it was just for simplicity in terms of putting out a simple question in front of voters," Caldwell said. "The distinction didn’t seem to matter to a lot of folks that I talked with. We’ll see how they feel when they get to the ballot.”

Other counties where recreational sales are legal will be able to choose to add a local option tax in future elections.

City residents in Billings Tuesday will also vote on whether to allow recreational marijuana dispensaries to open and operate within city limits.
Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.