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Montana Tops $200 Million in First Year of Recreational Pot Sales

The state reports that Montana’s first year of legal recreational marijuana sales saw more than $200m in revenue.

Montana Department of Revenue published figures showing how much money was earned in recreational and medical marijuana sales by 2022.

Last year marked the launch of the state’s recreational marijuana market. The 2004 legalization of medical cannabis by voters in the state was approved. 

According to the Department of Revenue in Washington, sales of adult marijuana were estimated at $202,947328 and sales of medical marijuana totaled $93,616,551.

They combined for a total of $303,563,879 last year in cannabis sales. 

According to the Department of Revenue in Montana, recreational marijuana sales generated $41,989 466 tax revenue and medical marijuana sales brought in $3,744,662. The state drew $45,734,128 from tax sales from cannabis in 2022. 

The state imposes a 20% tax on recreational pot and a 4.4% tax on medical cannabis.

All figures are estimated by the Department of Revenue. 

Montana’s voters approved a 2020 ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis. It was also one of four states where legalization measures were adopted that year. In 2021, the law became effective.

 “Since January, we’ve been focused on implementing the will of Montana voters in a safe, responsible, and appropriately regulated manner. House Bill 701 accomplishes this,” Gov. Greg Gianforte spoke in May 2021. This was quoted by KTVH. “From the start, I’ve been clear that we need to bring more resources … to combat the drug epidemic that’s devastating our communities.”

Chief among Gianforte’s concerns with the new law was the creation of the HEART Fund, which subsidizes substance abuse treatment in Montana with revenue from recreational marijuana sales. 

“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,” Gianforte said after signing the bill into law in 2021, as quoted by KTVH.

As in other states that have ended the prohibition on pot use for adults, Montana’s new law contains a component to redress harms that have resulted from the War on Drugs. 

The law “authorizes courts to either resentence or expunge marijuana offenses now considered legal or lesser offenses, but does not enact an automatic expungement process,” according to Montana Free Press, but the “the expungement policy has faced criticism as cumbersome and unclear.”

Last March, the state Supreme Court released temporary rules to clarify the process for an expungement request.

The law says that “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 the Missoula Current.

Montana Supreme Court has issued the largest clarification. Missoula Current noted, was to inform individuals that “they could submit their expungement request to the court where they were originally sentenced.”

Following the pardons granted by President Joe Biden to all federally convicted marijuana-related criminals in October last year, Biden encouraged other states to follow his example. 

Gianforte spokeswoman told The Montana Free Press at the time that the “governor will continue to evaluate clemencies submitted through the Board of Pardons and Parole on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with [state] statute.”