BOZEMAN - Gallatin County Commissioners are asking voters to decide on whether or not to tax medical and recreational marijuana in the June primary.
“The right thing and the right time for the voters to decide whether to do that or not,” says Joe Skinner, Gallatin County Commissioner.
Tuesday was the first step commissioners began to take to add two ballot questions to decide whether the county should add a 3 percent local tax on medical and recreational marijuana.
“This is an opportunity for the voters to tax,” says Skinner.
Commissioners say that they don't want this decision to be left up to them but rather leave it up to voter
Right now Recreational marijuana is taxed at 20 percent and medical marijuana is taxed at 4 percent. The county is asking voters to approve an additional 3 percent local tax which would mean that recreational marijuana would be taxed 23 percent and medical would be taxed 7 percent. If voters approve this in June the tax would begin on Oct 1, 2022.
“We're not putting a restriction on the money,” says Skinner.
Skinner says that if the tax passes they would want to be able to expand mental health services in the county using revenue from the local tax.
“We don't want to tie future commissions' hands but I know this commission is very committed to using it for mental health services,” says Skinner.
So how is the money being split? Gallatin County would keep 50 percent, 45 percent would be split between the cities, proportionality by population, meaning Bozeman and Belgrade would get the largest share. The remaining 5 percent would then go back to the state.
So what happens next? The commissioners will officially vote to put this question on March 8th for the June primary which is set for June 7th.