(Photo by Chris McNew / Getty Images)
Two of Missoulas County Commissioners held a forum at Imagine Nation Brewing Thursday evening to discuss and answer questions about medical and recreational marijuana taxation.
KGVO spoke to Commissioner Josh Slotnick about the forum and explained the questions that will be asked when the general election vote in November.
“There are two questions that voters can vote on,” said Slotnick. “The first question is, should we tax medical marijuana at 3 percent? That 3 percent is set by the state, so we have no choice. The second question was whether we, the county, should tax recreational marijuana at 3%. And again, this 3% is set by the state. “
Slotnick cited a study by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research of the amount of tax revenue the city and county could generate from recreational marijuana sales.
“It was in the middle of $ 700,000 how much the recreational marijuana tax would generate,” he said. And then the county wouldn’t just get that $ 750,000 or so because it’s shared with the city. We get 50 percent, the city 45 percent and then the state 5 percent to administer the program. “
Slotnick said he was looking forward to the additional tax revenue as a district official to help cut other tax expenses.
“The state will tax medical marijuana at 4 percent, and from January 1st they will tax recreational marijuana at 20 percent, so our 3 percent would be on top of those things. Personally, I very much hope it works, because we could use this money for important things like building housing. In addition, and everyone would be happy here, we can relieve property taxes. “
Slotnick said because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, marijuana companies will not have access to banks and will therefore be cash rich, which could bring more crime to Missoula.
“Because marijuana is illegal, money from marijuana stores and marijuana-making is generally not accepted by banks (state-insured),” he said. “So these are very cash-oriented companies. These are companies that not only have a product of great value, but often have lots of greenbacks on hand, which increases their security needs. People who manage these facilities do them really well. They are fortresses. “
Slotnick said Missoula could check out other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, such as Colorado, for its impact on their economies.