Montana Senate votes to promote promising law to legalize cannabis
Montana took a step closer to implementing its voter-approved marijuana recreational program last week.
On Friday, Montana Senate lawmakers passed bill setting a framework for the nascent program, including a provision that, according to the Associated Press, “would reserve tax revenue from sales for addiction treatment and statewide conservation efforts.”
The bill, which the Montana Senate passed by 34-16 votes, now goes back to the State House, where lawmakers will vote on the Senate’s changes. Legislators in the State House passed laws to implement the new Legal Pot program earlier this month.
Voters in Montana passed the election legalization measure in November, one of four states that passed proposals for legal weed in last year’s election. Shortly after the election, Montana officials announced that they expect licenses to be available this fall.
“There is still a lot of work to be done before the first legal sale of non-medical marijuana in Montana and before the first license is issued,” said Gene Walborn, director of the Montana Treasury Department, which oversees portions of the new cannabis program. “We look forward to working with the public and all interested parties as we develop guidelines for this new industry to help propel it forward while protecting public safety and increasing revenue for the state of Montana.”
The bill, passed by the Montana Senate late last week, includes a 20 percent tax rate on recreational marijuana sales, according to the Associated Press.
“Of the state revenue from sales, $ 6 million annually would be used for a drug addiction treatment program supported by Governor Greg Gianforte. 20% would invest in environmental protection efforts; 4%, or up to $ 650,000, would go to state parks, trails, and recreational facilities, and wildlife conservation, respectively. Up to $ 200,000 would be used for veteran services and veterans cemeteries improvement. $ 300,000 would be used for a one-time purchase of dogs for drug detection. US $ 150,000 would fund a one-time police training course. and the remaining money would go to the state’s general fund, ”the AP reported, noting officials estimate marijuana sales tax revenues at $ 48 million by 2025.
Changes to Bill passed by the Montana Senate
This is a minor change from the original election, which, according to the Associated Press, “went to the state general fund for 10.5% of revenue, with the remainder going to conservation programs, substance abuse treatment, veteran services, health care costs and places where marijuana is sold. “
The new bill also aims to get the state’s eight Native American tribes into the program by granting them “sales licenses that can be used within 150 miles of a reservation,” the Associated Press banned for reservations governed by the covenant charity become. “Despite the numerous legalization efforts at the state and city levels over the past decade, marijuana remains illegal under federal controlled substances law.
The election result will also influence the rollout in Montana. The sale of recreational pots will automatically be legalized in countries that voted for the marijuana poll. However, in the other countries, voters must approve a separate proposal in order to opt for the program.
Proponents were able to put the recreational marijuana question on the ballot after rounding up more than 130,000 signatures from Montana voters – well above the 25,000 verified signature threshold required to qualify.
The signatures were officially certified last August.
Montana voters legalized medical marijuana back in 2004, and treatment is currently legal in more than 30 states across the country.
This law has been expanded over the years, including a law passed last year that removes the obligation for medical cannabis patients to use only one provider.