Montana legislators are introducing three bills to implement legal cannabis
With Montana going to be the next state to legalize marijuana, Big Sky Country lawmakers will have a few options on how to implement the policy.
Local television broadcaster KPAX reported this week that lawmakers there in the State House “tabled three bills containing different visions for the implementation of recreational marijuana in the state after the legislature asked them to keep all three alive.”
According to the KPAX, house bills 701, 670 and 707 all passed “tentative votes” after the floor debates, giving the sponsors of any legislation hope that theirs can still be finalized. All three bills were put forward by Republican Members of the House, each with their own vision for legalizing Montana.
HB 701 “would establish separate licenses for medical and recreational pharmacies, limit licenses for 18 months to existing marijuana providers, oblige districts to” opt out “for licensing marijuana companies and share some of the tax revenue with the” HEART “to be sent by Governor Greg Gianforte to Fund Account for Mental Health Treatment and Substance Abuse,” said KPAX.
HB 670, meanwhile, would “create a unified license for medical marijuana and recreational marijuana sales, cut recreational sales tax to 15% and increase medical marijuana tax to 5%,” KPAX said, while also seeing a third of Recreational Pot’s revenue “A trust fund to combat the negative effects of marijuana use, the remainder for the state pension obligation for public employees”.
Finally, HB 707 would “set up a three-tier system based on how the state handles alcohol – with marijuana growers selling to wholesalers who would sell to pharmacies,” KPAX reported, while also “getting a license to grow Marijuana ”at home, and it would put all tax revenue from recreational sales in the general fund. “
Marijuana in Montana
Voters in Montana approved a measure to legalize marijuana last November, one of four states that passed such election measures in last year’s election. The others were New Jersey, Arizona, and South Dakota – although prospects for the latter are poor after a judge in South Dakota ruled the measure null and void.
Montana voters need not worry about this outcome as their lawmakers are busy devising a regulatory system for its implementation. The three bills currently being debated in the State House are expected to go to a final vote on Thursday.
KPAX said virtually all of the Democrats in the House protested the bills and that all three bills “made too many changes to the voter-approved initiative that set a framework for recreational marijuana”.
The foundations for the Montana legal framework began the same month that voters passed the marijuana measure. The state Treasury Department announced in November that it had drawn up plans to issue licenses.
The department announced that it is expected to begin accepting license applications in October next year.
On November 3, 2020, voters in Montana approved initiatives to sell, own, and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older. Pursuant to Initiative 190, the department will begin accepting applications for required licenses from October 1, 2021, ”the department said in the announcement.
“Under I-190, the Montana Treasury Department will approve and regulate the cultivation, transportation, and sale of marijuana and marijuana-infused products, as well as inspecting premises where marijuana is grown or sold. We assume that the legislature will address the initiative during the legislative period from January 4, 2021. “