The days of cautiously whispering about cannabis use have thankfully ridden into the sunset in Montana. After various attempts at legalization, beginning with medicinal use in 2004, Montana voters finally joined 17 other states that have now legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adult consumers. 37 states now allow medicinal use and even some traditionally ultra-conservative states (like Utah) are relaxing their regulations regarding marijuana use in some form.

Rolling a Marijuana Joint Lomo Style
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It's Montana's First "Legal Weed" 4/20

Cannabis sales in Montana have been booming, with nearly $73 million in the first quarter of 2022. Summertime cannabis-consuming tourists haven't even started rolling into our state yet, and one could easily anticipate $300 million in cannabis sales in Montana by the end of the year. That's a lot of dough and a really nice kick to state tax coffers.

Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images
Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images
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The official, un-official cannabis holiday is Wednesday, April 20th.

I almost hesitated to use the image above, because it kind of promotes the antiquated stereotype that stoners are losers. The fact is, people from all walks of life are cannabis users. Your doctor, your lawyer, your child's teacher, your boss, the candidate you voted for, and even the person you sit next to in church, is quite likely to consume cannabis in some form (or has in the past). Try not to clutch your pearls too tightly.

cropped view of two young adults smoking a joint
Credit: diego cervo, Getty Images
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Are you a 4/20 first-timer?

If you're celebrating 4/20 for the first time (or the first time since college), be cautious to not overdo it, and don't hesitate to ask questions at the weed shop. Kevin Welter, owner of Billings dispensary Mari Mint offered this suggestion,

Don’t be intimidated and ask your budtender for advice! They know it all and can guide you to your best experience.

Think about it like this... you go to a bar, but aren't sure what kind of drink to order. A good bartender will ask you what kind of flavors you like (and don't like) and they'll offer suggestions and guide you to the right choice. Same thing with "budtenders". If it's your first time, PLEASE TELL THEM. They'll happily give you invaluable advice.

Marijuana crop
pkripper503
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4/20 specials at Billings' Top Rated Dispensaries.

There are tons of options when it comes to marijuana dispensaries in Yellowstone County. Most offer a high-quality product and a nice selection. To prevent any personal favoritism or advertiser influence, I let Google Reviews choose the top 10 recreational dispensaries in Billings for this article. I then called them (and/or stalked their social media pages and website) to find out what they're offering on 4/20. Here are the results.

Seeds of Life Labs

One penny pre-roll for every customer. Spend $42 or more and get 20% off the entire bill.

SensiCare

This women-owned shop is having 420 drawings for prize baskets every hour on Wednesday, valued between $50 and $400. They strive to offer quality products that are grown using living soil. Susan Stanley, one of the owners, asked that voters remember to cast their ballot in the upcoming election that will determine if recreational cannabis stores will be able to continue to operate in Yellowstone County.

North Coast Cure

The crew from North Coast Cure will be at the 420 On Broadwater Party (2059 Broadwater Ave) from 10 am to 8 pm on Wednesday. A post on their Facebook page says the multi-vendor event will include doorbuster prizes, nitrogen ice cream, and discounts. You’ll also have an opportunity to meet a number of local growers.

Lighthouse Organics

20% off most items. A representative said they have plenty of inventory and lots of new strains and concentrates.

iDeal Naturals

Rec and medical with “lots of specials” including 20% off on ounces of flower for recreational sales, and 30% off for seniors and veterans with a medical card. Prize raffle with handmade medicine bags, a large flatscreen TV, and more.

HomeTree

The person I spoke with said they're offering specials on flower and concentrate. Stop by to find out more.

Uncle Buck's Dispensary & Glass

I'd never heard of Uncle Buck's. They don't appear to have a website or Facebook page (and the dude who answered the phone wasn't exactly sure what they were doing for 4/20, other than "specials and a raffle") but they've got 4.7 stars on Google with 41 reviews, earning them a spot on this list.

Mari Mint

Mari Mint is going big for 4/20 with flash tattoos, food trucks, and tons of prizes like a 50in LG TV, a bong basket with 1/8th of flower, a dab basket with 1 gram of wax, an Igloo cooler + six back, Thermoflask water bottles, $100 Legendary Art Studio gift card, camping chairs, and other cool stuff. Buy 4 items, save 20%, and more specials on products.  Party runs from 3 pm - 7:20 pm with giveaways every half hour starting at 4 pm.

Bloom Montana

With 21 locations around the state, Bloom is one of the largest recreational and medical providers in Montana. According to their website, they’re offering 20% off flower, merchandise, and glass on 4/20.

Lionheart Cannabis 

The employee I spoke with promised a "bunch of specials", like spend $80 get $10 off AND 20% off your whole order on top of that. Buy one candy rope, and get another for $4.20.

Image courtesy Better for Montana
Image courtesy Better for Montana
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Remember to vote.

Even if you are not a regular user of cannabis products, it would be foolish for Yellowstone County to lose tax dollars from recreational marijuana sales. If voters ban it here, shoppers will simply go to surrounding counties to spend their money or reach out to their "black market" grower.

Also, as a responsible cannabis user, please remember that it's illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence. Please keep your products out of the hands of minors. Cannabis-infused gummies, chocolates, or baked treats like brownies and cookies are attractive to kids. Please don't end up on the front page of the news, especially with a crucial vote on the line.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.