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Sunday, October 2, 2022

Hill County Commission Puts Marijuana Tax Decision on the Agenda

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Hever, Mont. (NMB) — The Hill County Commission has put an agenda item on Thursday’s business meeting that says there will be a vote on a resolution on a tax on marijuana sales.

When asked by New Media Broadcasters on Tuesday morning, Hill County Commissioner Jake Strissel said he believed that because Hill County voters had approved the legalization of recreational marijuana, the commission could impose a tax with their council vote.

When he was told that state law required an election to impose this tax, Streisel said he would look into the issue and provide a response when he had one.

Late on Tuesday afternoon, Commission Chairwoman Diane MacLean said they had “run into hurdles” and were still considering whether an election was needed to implement a tax, adding that the issue could be brought up on Thursday to allow discussions to continue in the future.

According to House Bell 701, which sets standards for implementing marijuana legalization, counties in which voters have approved the sale of recreational marijuana can implement excise tax on domestic options up to three percent, but it must also be approved by voters.

Municipalities can also levy a local option tax on drug sales with separate voter approval.

This is in addition to a 20% state tax on recreational sales and a 4% tax on drug sales.

HB 701 states that an election must be held and the tax cannot be implemented until 90 days after the vote has taken place. The county must give public notice of the election and cannot put the issue on a ballot paper more than once in a fiscal year.

According to the Department of Revenue, in counties where a local selective tax is applied, 50 percent of revenue must be retained by the county, and 45 percent “should be allocated to municipalities on the basis of the proportion of city or city population to the county’s total population”, and is retained the remaining five percent by the DOR” to bear the cost associated with administering” the tax.

Counties have broad discretion when it comes to how tax revenue is used, says HB 701, “Unless otherwise restricted, a county or municipality may allocate and spend revenue from a selective tax on local option marijuana for any activity, undertaking, or administrative service.” which the municipality is authorized to pay by law, including costs resulting from the imposition of a tax or due to administrative burdens imposed on the municipality as a result of the license or regulatory requirements imposed in this chapter.”

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