Fewer than a dozen people were in attendance at Wednesday morning’s hearing as Flathead County Commissioners sought input on possible local taxes on marijuana sales. County commissioners are expected to vote early next week on a resolution that could cast voters questioning whether to introduce a tax of up to 3% on the sale of marijuana within the county.
The Commissioner has until August 25th to make a decision on which item he will take into account in the November ballot. Her chairman, Pam Holmquist, said the board is still deciding how she will use the 3% tax if introduced. “We are looking for suggestions and comments on the tax,” she told attendees Wednesday.
She was the only two person to comment during the session which lasted less than 15 minutes. Business owner and president of the Evergreen Chamber of Commerce, Darren Engelland, said he wants to use the tax revenue for schooling and law enforcement on marijuana use.
The only other person to comment was a woman who tearfully delivered an impassioned speech detailing her son’s time in prison and treatment facility as a result of marijuana use. We want to raise tax revenues to support State law requires that $6 million each year from the state’s 20% marijuana tax be put into the HEART (Healing and Ending Addiction through Recovery and Treatment) account.
House Bill 701 allows a marijuana sales tax by ballot initiative in counties in Montana where a majority of voters have approved legalization. Flathead voters approved Casual Sale in the 2020 election by a margin of seven points.
The Commissioner held a working session last week at a meeting with Sheriff Brian Heino, District Attorney Travis Erner, and city officials. If implemented, the county will receive half of her 3% tax and the other half will be distributed to cities based on population. According to the working session minutes, the district’s tax share will generate an estimated $460,000 in annual revenue. “Given the impact recreational marijuana has had on county services, this tax revenue may help provide financial resources and reduce the burden on property taxpayers. “Negative impact,” the minutes read.
State taxes on marijuana are set at 4% for medical marijuana and 20% for adult use. By June, the state’s entertainment tax had generated more than $15 million for her, plus an additional $3 million for him from medical marijuana sales. Sixteen Montana counties, including Lake, Missoula, and Ravalli counties in western Montana, already have regional marijuana taxes. Countries can decide how to use their local tax revenues.