(Helenair) Patients asked a state committee to strike down a proposed 6 percent tax on medical marijuana, saying Montanans are opposed to any sales tax and that putting one on the backs of the sick isn’t right.
“Right now you guys are presenting a problem for patients,” said Casey Brock, who told the House Taxation Committee he uses medical marijuana. “They’re already poor, a lot of them are low-income. Last time I checked, more than 56 percent of Montana would be against a sales tax. It doesn’t matter what industry.”
House Bill 529 is carried by Rep. Tom Jacobson, D-Great Falls. The legislation, which came from Gov. Steve Bullock’s office, would have patients pay a 6 percent tax on medical marijuana.
Another bill to tax medical marijuana producers — not patients — 2 percent on their revenues received more support in a hearing earlier this week. Producers and patients said that Senate Bill 333 would legitimize the industry.
Both bills would use the funds to support a licensing and testing program to ensure the quality and safety of medical marijuana. Those requirement were a part of a voter-approved initiative that passed in November, lifting some restrictions on medical marijuana. Montana first allowed for marijuana as a medication in 2004 but the program was sharply limited by the 2011 Legislature.
A fiscal note on Jacobson’s bill says it would generate about $1.12 million a year and kick back $575,000 to the Department of Revenue to manage tax collection in first year and $500,000 each year after. A representative from the department was the only person to testify in support of the bill.
The note also says department would need $575,000 in its first year, $279,720 in the second and $220,020 in third, less than what is allocated.