Montana’s adult-use cannabis program: What to expect and how to prepare

Retail sales of adult-use cannabis began in Montana Jan. 1, topping $1.5 million in sales the first weekend alone

Looking at the experience of states that have previously implemented legal adult-use cannabis programs, we can predict fairly well what will happen next: a surge of investment, new businesses, and demand for capital.

Growth in Montana’s cannabis industry will be limited to existing medical marijuana operations until the state begins issuing new licenses to cultivate or sell marijuana in July 2023, which means a handful of businesses will need to scale rapidly to meet statewide demand. Existing cannabis retailers estimate their sales could triple, and future industry growth is inevitable as pandemic-driven sales gains hold steady and access to new capital increases.

A study from the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research estimates adult-use cannabis sales could reach over $215 million in 2022 and grow to nearly $260 million in just four years. For financial institutions interested in serving cannabis-related businesses (CRBs), the time to act is now.

Compliant banking operations require continuous enhanced due diligence to guard against inherent risks in a tightly regulated industry. Fortunately, a playbook exists to help banks capitalize on new low-cost deposit growth, non-interest income revenue streams, and the potential for earning assets.

 

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