montana cannabis

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Montana Environmental Groups Back Cannabis Legalization

September 30, 2020

A new Public Lands Coalition (PLC) in the state of Montana that comprises four major conservation organizations has publicly backed the cannabis legalization initiative set forth on the November ballot. Organized by New Approach Montana, the group is asking Montanans to vote Yes on CI-118 and I-190 to make marijuana legal for adults in the state. 

With the state of Montana heavily reliant on tourists from across the country to enjoy public lands, the industry would receive a significant boost in funding via tax revenue should the measure be passed. In fact, 50% of the revenue would be allocated towards the preservation and rejuvenating of public lands, a larger percentage than any other currently legal state. 

Montana Cannabis Legalization Would Resolve Unmet Conservation Needs 

The Public Lands Coalition stated in the Sunday version of The Missoulian Newspaper that legalizing cannabis would fill a critical $60 million dollar gap in “unmet conservation needs in Montana.” The services would include funding for landowners who want to offer access for hunting and fishing, creation and maintenance of trails, protection of land for wildlife, and funding for state parks. 

The coalition stated that upwards of $18 million per year would be allocated towards the benefit of public lands, allowing for new recreation opportunities and maintenance for current access. 

Details of Potential Legalization 

Should the initiatives be passed, a legalized system for adult-use cannabis access would be established for those over 21 years of age. 

Montanans would be able to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, and would be permitted to cultivate up to four plants and four seedlings in their own homes. 

The Montana Department of Revenue would be tasked with regulating the industry, issuing business licenses as early as January 1, 2022. Medical cannabis businesses would have the earliest access to enter the newly founded adult-use market, with a 20% sales tax on recreational marijuana.

In addition to public land funding, those taxes would also serve veterans services, health care, substance misuse treatment, and the state general fund. 

Contributed by Jack Berning