MISSOULA — Montana has officially joined 17 other states where recreational, adult-use cannabis is legal.
A number of counties can sell marijuana as of Saturday with some of the “green counties” including Ravalli, Mineral, and Missoula.
But with the legalization of adult-use marijuana, comes a lot of questions.
We stopped by a Missoula dispensary earlier this week as they prepared for Jan. 1.
Spark1 has waited patiently for four years at its post on Broadway and Adams rooting for a recreational marijuana bill to come onto the scene.
“This is a good thing for the community and for the state,” Spark1 owner Marc Lax said.
Thanks to the voters' approval of Initiative 190 back in November, Spark1 got its wish and as of Jan. 1, limited amounts of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 is legal.
Before Saturday, Spark1’s Montana-made cannabis only catered to medical cardholders but now, the reach is greater — stretching far beyond even county lines.
“Anybody over 21 can come in, regardless of what state you live in. If you're 21 and have a valid ID, you can come make a purchase up to an ounce a day,” Lax explained.
He told MTN News it’s been a whirlwind as his dispensary hired employees and ramped up production in anticipation of recreational marijuana sales.
“The state's going to receive quite a bit of tax money from cannabis providers,” Lax said. “We also created quite a bit of jobs."
There are jobs at the counter and jobs behind the scenes cultivating cannabis to create a product that’s low cost, high quality, third-party tested and entirely made in Montana.
“People can be ensured that we have clean safe products to consume,” Lax noted. “That's a big part of it.”
Behind the tinted windows of a dispensary, one might not know what to expect. Spark1 has one rule for first-timers.
“I would take baby steps. That's what we're going to be communicating to folks is baby steps when consuming cannabis,” Lax explained. “Low-dose edibles are fantastic."
"A microdose; it'll make, you know -- they'll take the edge off. And it'll make you know communicating with your significant other a little more tolerable.”
The Montanans behind the counter are skilled in customer service and in anticipation of first-time users, Spark1 has its pitch prepared.
“Or to cartridges to edibles, solventless products, there's quite a bit of options. So, anybody that wants to consume we have something for them,” Lax concluded.