Purchases of adult-use cannabis in Montana hit a monthly record in August, according to newly released sales numbers from the state’s Cannabis Control Division. Medical marijuana receipts for the month, meanwhile, were at their lowest since adult-use stores opened in January 2022.
Adult-use marijuana sales tallied $23,728,009 in August, the Department of Revenue report shows. Medical cannabis added $4,969,303, for a monthly total of nearly $28.7 million—the highest monthly haul ever recorded for the state’s marijuana industry.
All told, state-licensed stores have sold more than half a billion dollars ($516,237,988) worth of legal cannabis since January 2022, bringing in an estimated $81.4 million in taxes for the state. Of that revenue, $76 million comes from recreational sales.
Montana joins a number of other states that saw record sales last month, including Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Mexico.
As with many jurisdictions, Montana has seen sales numbers climb steadily since legal stores opened their doors, in part as new businesses come online. January 2022 brought $14.1 million in adult-use sales, a number that’s since grown nearly every month. But medical sales have been the inverse of that trend, falling during 2022 until and then hovering just over $5 million monthly for most of this year.
Nevertheless, last month represented a record combined monthly total in the state: $28.7 million, up from $24.3 million in January 2022, according to the report.
What to do with the tax revenue from regulated sales is currently the subject of a dispute in state courts. Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) and Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen (R) have asked a judge to dismiss suit challenging Gianforte’s veto of Senate Bill 442, which would have put more of the state’s marijuana revenue toward county roads and conservation efforts.
Three organizations are suing the governor over what they say was an improper veto in the final hours of the legislative session, a rejection they say lawmakers should be given the chance to override.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Lang (R), would have disbursed the state’s roughly $50 million in annual marijuana revenue to a Habitat Legacy fund, the state’s general fund, trails, parks and recreation, veterans’ services and a treatment and recovery fund. The governor instead advocated for more money to the Department of Justice and the state’s general fund.
That was one of a small handful of bills the state legislature sent to Gianforte’s desk this past session. Lawmakers in the Senate, meanwhile, killed legislation that would have eliminated adult-use retailers and limited THC potency as well as a House-passed measure to ban most marijuana advertising.
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Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.