Recreational Cannabis is Coming. Is Montana Ready?
Recreational Cannabis sales are less than 30 days away in Montana, and many dispensaries across the state are preparing for legal sales beginning on January 1, 2022.
A report by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research found that a 20% tax levied on legalized sales of cannabis has the potential to collect between $43 and $52 million per year in revenues to the state in the years 2022-26. Projected revenues reflect cannabis sales to both Montana residents and to visitors to the state.
One major concern is that dispensaries in Montana won't be able to keep up with the increased demand and could possibly run out of product soon after recreational sales are legalized in January.
As of right now, there are 40,000 medical marijuana cardholders in the state. The majority of existing medical dispensaries are preparing to transition to recreational sales in addition to medical. However, dispensaries are not required to reserve inventory for medical patients and some that rely on cannabis to treat chronic conditions could have difficulty obtaining their medicine.
Pepper Petersen, President of the Montana Cannabis Guild says he expects 200,000 Montana residents will purchase recreational cannabis, and an additional 12 million annual tourist visitors will create added stress for dispensaries throughout the state. Most dispensaries only have enough product to meet 40-60% of residential demand.
The increase in demand will most likely result in Montana dispensaries completely selling out of product, and most don't have the ability to meet the demand, Petersen said. He anticipates that many dispensaries will be completely sold out by January 5.
He expects the market to stabilize by May 2022 before tourist season creates greater demand and that the industry will stabilize once again in November 2022.
If you're a current medical cardholder in Montana, it's important to prepare for the increased demand and market uncertainty to ensure that you get the medicine that you need.