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Montana Revenue Dept May Tax And Regulate Mmj.


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If this happens they should establish a process were the disabled and low income people can get their meds without paying the tax on it.


2nd Major Medical Marijuana Bill IntroducedPosted by CN Staff on January 13, 2011 at 06:40:02 PT

By Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau

Source: Billings Gazette


medical.gif Helena, MT -- A Helena lawmaker has introduced a bill to license and regulate the growing and selling of medical marijuana in Montana and to impose a 10 percent tax on the growers' sales to pay for the cost of regulation and go for other uses. Sen. Dave Lewis, R-Helena, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 154, the second major bill intended to impose some regulations on the industry.


The other measure is House Bill 68, by Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, on behalf of the Legislature's Children, Families, Health and Human Services Interim Committee.


“I wanted to put something together, a licensing process, that allows us to know how much (marijuana) is grown and where it's going,” Lewis said Wednesday.


He said medical marijuana would be regulated by the Revenue Department like taverns, only without a quota system. Montana has long had a quota system for all-beverage liquor licenses for bars, taverns and casinos.


The use of medical marijuana was authorized under a voter-passed initiative in 2004. Since the fall of 2009, Montana has seen an explosion in the number of people who have been authorized by doctors to use medical marijuana, as well as a jump in the number of growers.


Under the Lewis bill, growers would have to file quarterly reports with the state Revenue Department, which would be allowed to inspect growers' premises and records. The state agency would be allowed to determine whether the number of plants and amount of usable marijuana a grower is authorized to possess reconciles with what the grower reported to the department.


Unlike the other bill, Lewis' measure would impose a 10 percent tax on the 4,700 marijuana growers in Montana. He estimates the tax will bring in $4 million annually.


Under Lewis' bill, part of the tax collections would go to pay for the cost of the Revenue Department regulating the medical marijuana industry. The remainder of the tax revenue would be distributed two ways. Half would go to local governments, based on the number of licensed growers in each city, town or county. The other half would go to the state Department of Public Health and Human Services to be spent on social services listed in the bill.


Sands' bill wouldn't set up a tax but instead would charge licensing fees to pay for the cost of regulation, also by the Revenue Department.


Lewis' bill also sets up procedures for local governments to have public hearings before anyone is granted a license to grow medical marijuana or to move a growing location. Unlike Sands' bill, Lewis' measure doesn't set standards for physicians or patients.


Tom Daubert, a lobbyist for Patients and Families United, a medical marijuana advocacy group, said he is undecided whether to support about Lewis' bill, but called it a “fair, conscientious, thoughtful proposal.”


“It looks to be the most rigorous bill in development or being introduced regarding the growing and dispensing of health cannabis,” Daubert said.


Daubert said some people involved in the medical marijuana businesses in Montana don't like the proposed 10 percent tax in Lewis' bill.


“No other medicine is taxed in this state,” he said. “I personally am undecided how I feel about the tax issue. I share their concerns about the precedent of taxing medicine.”


However, Daubert said he favors rigorous oversight of the medical marijuana industry and emphasized that the industry, not taxpayers, must pay for the regulatory oversight.


Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)

Author: Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau

Published: January 12, 2011

Copyright: 2011 The Billings Gazette

Contact: speakup@billingsgazette.com

Website: http://www.billingsgazette.com/

URL: http://drugsense.org/url/MNnIvFWt CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives


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