Three months later, a new adult cannabis use program in Montana generated tens of millions of dollars in sales, generating $8.7 million in tax revenue.
It comes through the state’s Department of Revenue, which has provided details of recreational pot sales in the state for the first quarter of the year.
In total, the adult use market launched at the beginning of the year generated $43,537,110.29 in sales. For comparison, the state’s medical cannabis program generated $2,9373,731.81 in sales over the same time period.
Montana voters passed recreational cannabis for adults during the 2020 election, and it is one of four states to end bans on pot on the ballot that year (Arizona, South Dakota, and New Jersey were the other three).
Preparing the program in time to start this year was tight.
State officials haven’t suggested their final rules to govern the new regulated cannabis market until October, leaving the Department of Revenue with little time to iron out all the regulations.
“Deadlines are strict,” said Christian Barbour, director of the Department of Revenue’s cannabis control division, He said at that time. “Really, the rules are our biggest challenge.”
“Our focus was really to be business-friendly and try to work with the industry in a way that the rules are adaptable to their current business structure and be able to evolve into it without too much suffering,” Barbour added.
But despite the time constraints, the regulated cannabis market was open for business as scheduled on New Year’s Day.
Local television station KTVH reported that “an estimated 380 dispensaries in 29 counties are now able to sell marijuana to medical and recreational customers.” On the program’s opening weekend at the beginning of January, Montana has reported selling over $1.5 million worth of cannabis.
Rationalization efforts in the United States were backed by economic incentives to regulate pot sales. Report released this week With the Marijuana Policy Project, the point came home, revealing that legal adult cannabis sales generated more than $3.7 billion in total revenue last year.
That number represents a 34% increase from 2020, when states with recreational pot sales generated $2,766,027,570 in revenue. Since 2014, states have generated $11.2 billion in tax revenue from sales of cannabis for adult use, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
“Legalizing and regulating cannabis use for adults has generated billions of dollars in tax revenue, funded important services and programs statewide, and created thousands of jobs across the country. Meanwhile, lagging states continue to waste government resources on enforcing outdated cannabis laws that harming far too many Americans,” said Toy Hutchinson, president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project, who said the group’s findings serve as “further evidence” that ending the cannabis ban offers enormous financial benefits to state governments.
Legalization is not limited to the money that is brought in, of course. Countries that ended pot bans also sought to address past injustices caused by the war on drugs.
Last month, the Montana Supreme Court Temporary rules issued For procedures by which individuals can have previous convictions related to cannabis expunged from their records.
The state’s new cannabis law states that “anyone convicted of a crime that would now become legal in the state can petition to have their conviction removed from their record, receive a reduced sentence for it, or be reclassified to a lower crime,” according to the local television station. KPAX.
In rules laid out last month, the state Supreme Court made it clear that they may file a disqualification request with the court in which they were originally sentenced.