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Montana Pot Sales See Increase in June

Big Sky Country’s recreational marijuana sales are continuing to rise, with Montana reporting an unprecedented total for the month.

The state’s Department of Revenue reported that adult-use cannabis sales in Montana totaled more than $17 million in the month of June—the highest figure since recreational pot sales began in January.

Montana is home to nearly 150 million combined cannabis sales, including medical and recreational. Local news station NBC Montana reports that the state has received nearly $21million in taxes from combined medical and recreational sales this year.

Montana has a 20% tax on recreational marijuana, but a 4% tax on medical cannabis.

Not surprising, sales of recreational cannabis have outsold those for medical marijuana.

From January through June, Montana’s new recreational cannabis program has generated $93,747,110, compared with $54,324,681 in medical cannabis sales.

The previous projections for the state’s recreational cannabis sales were $130 Million in 2018 and $195 Million in 2023.

Recreational pot sales in Montana kicked off to great fanfare on New Year’s Day. The state was among four that passed 2020 ballot measures to legalize adult-use cannabis. New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota and New Jersey were the others.

Montana saw cannabis sales surpass $1.5 Million in the initial weekend.

This is the local newspaper. Independent Record, reported at the time that dispensaries in the capital city of Helena “had lines of people packed inside to avoid cold temperatures, while others saw a small but steady stream of foot traffic through noon.”

Local television station KTVH reported that the program launched in January with an “estimated 380 dispensaries in 29 counties are now able to sell marijuana to both medical and recreational customers.”

The legalization ballot initiative was passed in Montana. In 2021, the legislature in Montana approved a bill setting the framework for the sale of recreational cannabis in the state.

Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte believes that the HEART Fund is the best component of the legislation. It will be funded by revenue from recreational marijuana.

“From the start, I’ve been clear that we need to bring more resources to bear to combat the drug epidemic that’s devastating our communities,” Gianforte said after signing the legislation. “Funding a full continuum of substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for communities, the HEART Fund will offer new support to Montanans who want to get clean, sober and healthy.”

New law includes legal mechanisms that allow individuals who were convicted in the past of marijuana-related offences to request their records be erased.

The Montana Supreme Court released temporary rules in March governing these expungement proceedings.

According to Missoula Current, the new 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.”

The biggest clarification issued by the state Supreme Court “was letting people know they could submit their expungement request to the court where they were originally sentenced,” according to the Missoula Current.

Beth McLaughlin was the Montana state court administrator. Missoula Current, “there had been some confusion because of a separate expungement procedure for misdemeanors that requires all defendants to go through district courts,” but that the law “says courts should presume someone is eligible for expungement unless the county attorney proves otherwise.”

“The interest is to make it easier for litigants,” McLaughlin said, as quoted by the Missoula Current. “The point is to make them as readily available as possible.”