Recreational cannabis sales in Montana reach $43 million for Q1 2022


It’s been three months since Montana’s recreational cannabis program launched and the market has already earned $8.7 million in tax revenue. 

This large chunk of revenue was gleaned from millions of dollars worth of sales, according to the Montana Department of Revenue

A recent sales analysis published by the Department confirmed revenue results for the first quarter of 2021.

The data indicates that Montana’s adult-use cannabis marketplace which was legalized in November 2020 earned $43,537,110.29 in sales. 

Comparatively, Montana’s medical cannabis program turned over $29,373,731.81 in legal transactions during the same period of time.

Voters legalized recreational cannabis in Montana during 2020 election

During the November election of 2020, Montana joined a handful of other states that chose to put an end to cannabis prohibition via a ballot initiative. Those states were Arizona, New Jersey and South Dakota.

Since Montana State officials failed to put forward their final regulations to oversee the new adult-use cannabis industry until October of last year, there was minimal time for the Department of Revenue to hash out regulations for the market. 

Kristan Barbour, administrator of the Department of Revenue’s Cannabis Control Division, described the deadline as “aggressive.” Despite the tight schedule, Montana’s cannabis market did finally launch on New Year’s and is now in full swing.

“Really, the rules are our biggest challenge. Our focus was really to be business-friendly and to try to work with the industry in a fashion that makes the rules adaptable to their current business structure and that they’ll be able to evolve into without a whole lot of pain,” Barbour added.

Reports from local television station KTVH suggest that approximately 380 dispensaries are licensed to sell cannabis to medical and recreational consumers across the state.

Adult-use cannabis sales offer major economic incentives

With Montana reporting more than $1.5 million in legal cannabis sales during opening weekend, the money-making potential of adult-use cannabis is crystal clear. Various other legal states have also reaped the economic incentives of regulating adult-use cannabis sales. 

In fact, a report recently published by the Marijuana Policy Project found that states with legal recreational cannabis sales pulled in more than $3.7 billion in total revenue for 2021. To really put things into perspective, since the year 2014, states have harvested $11.2 billion in tax revenue from recreational cannabis sales.

Comparatively, in 2020, recreational cannabis sales generated revenue to the amount of $2,766,027,570 34 percent less than last year’s figures. 

“The legalization and regulation of cannabis for adults has generated billions of dollars in tax revenue, funded important services and programs at the state level, and created thousands of jobs across the country. Meanwhile, the states that lag behind continue to waste government resources on enforcing archaic cannabis laws that harm far too many Americans,” said president and CEO of the MPP, Toi Hutchinson.

Hutchinson noted that the group’s discoveries serve as “further evidence that ending cannabis prohibition offers tremendous financial benefits for state governments.”