First, we recognize that the Governor’s budget never ends exactly how it starts. There’s a long road ahead and it might be premature to react. That said, medications are not taxed in Montana so objections to singling out cannabis for taxation make sense. The average patient spending $200 per month would be looking at a $12 per month increase in cost.
On the other hand, we recognize that the more the program is integrated into state government, the safer the program is from efforts such as the one we saw in 2011 to dismantle it. Being integrated into governmental systems also protects the program from federal interference. When the program is protected, patient access is protected. So, there are different angles to consider.
Since there is a long road ahead, the organization has not yet taken a formal position. Our main concern is the 10,000 patients waiting for access to be restored. But we have made note that one of the crafters of the law that aimed at destroying the program in 2011 (SB 423) tweeted an objection to the tax because the tax would serve to protect the program. When a staunch opponent of medical marijuana access objects to a medical marijuana policy, it’s worth considering both sides of the issue.