By Derrick Stanley
A bill imposing a 4 percent tax on medical marijuana sales in Montana passed in the House 68-31 and has moved to Governor Steve Bullock's desk. Sen. Mary Caferro, the bill’s sponsor, said the measure, which was amended from 6 percent, will help the state regulate the program.
“The 4 percent tax was an amendment in the Senate and I supported it, and the reason is because the 4 percent tax is enough to set up the system,” she said in the report. “And that’s common practice, industry pays for their regulation.”
The tax will drop to 2 percent in July 2018 and will help cover new regulations including a seed-to-sale tracking system, site and shop inspections, and lab testing.
“The point of the bill, again, is to make sure that Montana has a regulated system so the feds don’t come shut it down,” Caferro said.
Kari Boiter, co-founder of the Patient Rights Network said the sales tax - which was 6 percent at the time - would create undue burdens for those patients on limited incomes.
“We’re already dealing with exorbitant medical costs and debt that we’re trying to pay,” she said in an Associated Press report. “This is just one more thing that adds to the expenses we’re taking on as sick individuals.”
Bullock is expected to sign the measure which his spokesperson called “fair and modest” last month.