Measures to tax recreational and medical marijuana sales in Butte-Silver Bow County passed by wide margins in Tuesday’s primary election, according to unofficial returns.
A big majority of voters also backed a proposal to impose a one-mill property tax levy and steer its $75,000 or so in annual revenue to the 15-90 Search and Rescue team.
In the only local race on the ballot in Butte-Silver Bow, incumbent Commissioner Bill Andersen got the most votes in a five-person field for the District 10 seat he has held for 12 years.
Of 286 votes reported, Andersen had 32% to 26% for Brian McGregor. Maisie Sulser had 19%, Brody Shields 13% and Trenin Bayless 9%. Only Andersen and McGregor advance to the November election.
Although results are unofficial until certified days from now, three ballot measures in Butte-Silver Bow passed with full results in.
Of 8,772 votes cast, a measure to impose a 3% local tax on recreational marijuana sales in Butte-Silver Bow had 78% yes votes to 22% against.
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Of 8,719 votes cast on a 3% tax on medical sales, 59% percent were in favor while 41% were opposed.
A one-mill levy for the 15-90 Search and Rescue was supported by 75% of 8,820 votes cast, according to the unofficial returns.
Measures to impose 3% local taxes on marijuana sales in Anaconda-Deer Lodge County were also getting significant support.
With partial results from 14 of 14 precincts in the county — 2,161 votes to be precise as of 11:45 p.m. — the tax on recreational sales had 78% approval while the tax on medical sales was getting the nod by a 56% to 44% margin.
Bill Everett, chief executive in Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, backed both measures and was pleased with the early results.
“With the increase in marijuana sales, we will likely see an increase in the need for awareness, regulation and possibly demands on our public health department,” Everett told The Montana Standard on Tuesday night. “This new tax will hopefully offset any of these issues if they arise.”
J.P. Gallagher, chief executive in Butte-Silver Bow, backed a 3% percent tax on recreational and medical marijuana sales in Butte for similar reasons and pushed for the measures to be on the ballot.
There were two contested legislative primaries in southwest Montana.
In House District 75, which covers most of Jefferson County, incumbent state Rep. Marta Bertoglio, R-Clancy, was defeating Republican challenger Timothy McKendrick of Boulder 73% to 27% out of 2,331 votes cast. Full results were not in as of midnight, however.
In House District 78, with partial results from five of 17 precincts reporting, freshman state Rep. Gregory Frazer, R-Deer Lodge, was winning 57% of 1,086 votes cast to 43% for GOP challenger Steven Grant of Deer Lodge.
No Democrats filed in District 75 or 78 so the winner of the primary is likely to win the seat in November. Only write-in candidates can file now and they face major obstacles to winning.