If Montana were to legalize recreational marijuana, the state’s economy could see a major boost to revenue. At least that is according to a brand new study by researchers at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana.

“Our independent research utilized the extensive survey-based data that is publicly available, detailing the frequency of cannabis use of both Montana residents and visitors to give us a good understanding of potential tax revenue on legalized retail cannabis sales,” said one of the authors Patrick Barkey, who is the director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research. (BBER)

New Approach Montana commissioned the study to quantify the potential size of the recreational cannabis marketplace in the state.

The study looked at the potential revenue of a 20 percent tax levied on cannabis sales as envisioned in initiatives CI-118 and I-190 that will be on this November’s ballot. BBER neither endorses or opposes any legislative bill or ballot initiative.

“We asked BBER to perform this study because of its reputation for impartial, transparent research,” said Pepper Petersen, spokesman for New Approach Montana. “We think it is important for Montanans to understand the full benefits of legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana for adults 21 and over.”

According to the results, the study found that a 20% tax on legalized sales in compliance with the envisioned initiatives could potentially collect between $43.4 and $52 million per year for Montana in the years 2022-2026, totaling $236.4 million over the five year period.

The study additionally discovered that recreational cannabis market total sales could potentially be between $217.2 and $259.8 million per year over the period of 2022-2026 and over 15 percent of leisure oriented visitors to states with legal recreational cannabis sale, visit retail stores.

“We estimate that in 2022, sales of recreational cannabis to tourists will generate almost $5.9 million in tax revenue. By 2026, the projected revenue could climb to $16.8 million,” said study co-author Robert Sonora, who is the associate director at the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

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