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Montana Adult-Use Sales Top $43 Million For First Quarter of Year

The new Montana adult-use marijuana program has been in operation for three months and already generated $8.7million in tax revenue.

That comes via the state’s Department of Revenue, which detailed recreational pot sales in the state for the first quarter of the year.

In total, the adult-use market that launched at the start of the year has produced $43,537,110.29 in sales. For comparison, the state’s medical cannabis program generated $29,373,731.81 worth of sales during the same time period.

Montana’s 2020 elections saw legalization of recreational marijuana for adults by voters. This was one of only four states that had repealed pot prohibition. New Jersey, Arizona, and South Dakota were the others.

The deadline for completing the program in time to launch the year 2009 was very tight.

Officials in the state didn’t propose their final rules to govern the new regulated cannabis marketplace until October, leaving the Department of Revenue very little time to iron out all the regulations.

“The deadlines are aggressive,” Kristan Barbour, administrator of the Department of Revenue’s Cannabis Control Division, said at the time. “Really, the rules are our biggest challenge.”

“Our focus was really to be business-friendly and to try to work with the industry in a fashion that makes the rules adaptable to their current business structure and that they’ll be able to evolve into without a whole lot of pain,” 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 both medical and recreational customers.” In the program’s opening weekend at the beginning of January, Montana reported more than $1.5 million in cannabis sales.

American legalization has been supported by the financial incentives that regulate the sale of marijuana. The Marijuana Policy Project released a report this week that showed that adult-use marijuana sales in states that have legalized it generated over $3.7 billion last year.

The figure represents a 34% increase over 2020 when recreational cannabis sales in the US generated revenue of $2,766,027.570. The Marijuana Policy Project reports that states have earned $11.2 billion from tax revenues from adult-use cannabis.

“The legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults has generated billions of dollars in tax revenue, funded important services and programs at the state level, and created thousands of jobs across the country. Meanwhile, the states that lag behind continue to waste government resources on enforcing archaic cannabis laws that harm far too many Americans,” said Toi Hutchinson, the president and CEO of the Marijuana Policy Project, who said that the group’s findings serve as “further evidence that ending cannabis prohibition offers tremendous financial benefits for state governments.”

Legalization isn’t just about the money brought in, of course. These states have sought to correct the injustices caused by the War on Drugs.

The Montana Supreme Court published temporary rules last month for the removal of cannabis convictions from individuals’ records.

The state’s new cannabis law says “anyone convicted of an offense that would now be legal in the state can petition to have their conviction removed from their record, get a lesser sentence for it or reclassify it to a lesser offense,” according to local television station KPAX.

Last month’s state Supreme Court rules made clear that expungement requests may be submitted to the original court.