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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Gallatin County looks to add a local tax to medical and recreational marijuana

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BOSEMAN – Gallatin County commissioners are asking voters to decide whether or not to tax medical and recreational marijuana in the June primary.

“The right thing and the right time for voters to decide whether or not to do it,” says Gallatin County Commissioner Joe Skinner.

Tuesday was the first step that commissioners began taking to add two questions to the ballot to decide whether the county should add a 3 percent local tax on medical and recreational marijuana.

“This is an opportunity for voters to tax,” Skinner says.

The commissioners say they don’t want to leave this decision up to them, they leave it to the voter

Currently, recreational marijuana is taxed at 20 percent, and medical marijuana is taxed at 4 percent. The district is requiring voters to agree to an additional 3 percent local tax which means recreational marijuana will be taxed at 23 percent and medical taxes at 7 percent. If voters approve it in June, the tax will start on October 1, 2022.

“We don’t place money restrictions,” Skinner says.

Skinner says that if the tax is passed, they’ll want to be able to expand mental health services in the county using local tax revenue.

“We don’t want to tie the hands of future committees, but I know this committee is very committed to using them in mental health services,” Skinner says.

So how is the money divided? Gallatin County will keep 50 percent, 45 percent will be divided between cities, proportional to population, which means Bozeman and Belgrade will get the largest share. Then the remaining 5 percent goes back to the state.

So what will happen next? Committee members will formally vote to ask this question on March 8 in the June primaries scheduled for June 7.

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