Local dispensaries see influx of customers over first week of recreational marijuana sales

MISSOULA, Mont. - Dispensaries in Montana have been selling recreational marijuana since Jan. 1, and in Missoula, business owners are getting adjusted to the increase in sales.

The Montana Department of Revenue said that customers purchased more than $1.5 million worth in products over New Year's weekend, raising over $300,000 revenue for the state.

Owner of Flower Dispensary, Bobby Long, said sales are higher than they've ever seen. But said through preparation, they were able to meet the demand.

"It's really on the high-end of what we planned for, but we've got plenty of products and plenty of back stock, you know, we were ready for it," Long said.

Over at Starrbuds, owner Glenn Broughton, said they've doubled their daily sales throughout the week.

He said they had a line of up to 15 people outside their shop on the first day of sales.

"You can tell the excitement in the people that [have] never been in a dispensary before because they're just like a kid in a candy store," Broughton said.

Missoula County Commissioner, Josh Slotnick, said they project the local tax will bring in around $300,000 of revenue a year. He said they'll prioritize using that revenue for housing issues, roads and property tax relief.

Both owners said recreational sales have brought a new level of excitement to their customer base.

"Recreational only comes around for the first time once, so I think there's been kind of an almost festive spirit with people coming in. The customers have been kind of high-five 'in and having fun. So that's been pretty cool," Long said.

The state's 20% tax on recreational marijuana has started, but Missoula's 3% tax doesn't go into effect until January 31.

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