Montana dispensary sales are expected to eclipse $300 million in the recreational marijuana industry's first year, creating a windfall of $45 million in tax revenue for the state.
Despite the high revenues, state officials raised some concerns on the horizon as the industry enters its second year. Rep. Bob Carter, a freshman Democrat from Missoula, raised recent reports from Missoula County Public Health officials that warned of recent youth hospitalizations from marijuana use. Barbour pointed to possible use of intoxicating hemp products that have "proliferated" in the market, primarily in gas stations and is often sold to minors. The products fall outside of the state's cannabis regulation and under loose federal regulations on hemp products.
Barbour also noted a case in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is likely to create a major shift in the landscape. Regulations currently in place have banned any new licensees from entering the market until the end of June, however, may soon allow interstate commerce, meaning any dispensary in any other state could move in to set up shop in Montana.
The state legislature is expected to take up these and other Marijuana related issues this week.