Inside of an indoor cannabis cultivation grow site.

Sarah Climaco

Lawmakers in Montana are considering adding a 6 percent tax on medical cannabis sales which would be diverted to the state’s unrestricted general fund, the Associated Press reports. The proposal, which is being considered by the House Taxation Committee, could raise about $1.1 million annually, and about $100,000 would be used for an armored car and security guard to collect the taxes directly from dispensaries.

The proposal is one of several “revenue enhancers” supported by Gov. Steve Bullock in the Legislature to help bridge gaps in the state budget. Another measure being considered by lawmakers would add a 2 percent tax on cannabis producers.

Democratic state Rep. Tom Jacobson said the tax is needed in order to help the state regulate the industry and ensure product safety.

“The voters put the onus on the state of Montana to ensure the safety and viability of this product,” Jacobson said in the report. “The consumers of this product are relying on us; therefore, comes a cost.”

Kari Boiter, co-founder of the Patient Rights Network, said the sales tax would create financial burdens for patients as many patients have limited incomes. She indicated she spends about $700 a month on her cannabis treatments.

“We’re already dealing with exorbitant medical costs and debt that we’re trying to pay,” she said. “This is just one more thing that adds to the expenses we’re taking on as sick individuals,” she said.

Bullock’s spokesman Ronja Abel called the revenue enhancer proposals “fair and modest,” and deserving of “thoughtful consideration.”

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