HELENA — In Montana’s first quarter of recreational marijuana sales, dispensaries across the state have made more than $43 million in adult-use sales – enough to bring in nearly $9 million in state tax revenue.
This week, the Montana Department of Revenue released marijuana sales data for March. They recorded $15,861,516 in adult-use sales and $9,872,283 in medical marijuana sales – bringing the totals to $43,537,110 for adult-use and $29,373,731 for medical since recreational sales began Jan. 1.
Average daily sales for adult-use marijuana have increased each of the first three months. For medical marijuana, average sales increased slightly from January to February, then decreased in March.
The largest volume of recreational sales in March came in Yellowstone County, with $2,732,829. It was followed by Gallatin County with $2,505,643, Missoula County with $2,199,948 and Flathead County with $1,699,514. Lewis and Clark County saw $1,074,837 in adult-use sales, and Cascade County saw $1,007,301.
All together, nearly $73 million of marijuana was purchased through the state market since the start of the year. DOR estimates that will bring in a total of more than $9.8 million in state revenues, based on the 20% tax on adult-use sales and 4% tax on medical sales. Dispensaries’ tax payments for the first quarter will be due to the department on April 15.
In addition, Park and Yellowstone Counties have placed local 3% taxes on adult-use and medical marijuana, while Missoula County has adopted a 3% tax only on adult-use sales. Dawson County will implement 3% taxes on all marijuana sales starting this month.
Pepper Petersen, president and CEO of the Montana Cannabis Guild, said the data showed what advocates for marijuana legalization had expected – that legal sales would bring in substantial revenues for state and local government. He said the industry was on pace to raise as much in taxes for the state this year as some of the taxes placed on natural resources like coal. Still, he said the marijuana industry is not receiving the same type of respect.
“We’re bringing in all this tax revenue and we’re still facing the same prejudices,” he said.