Montana recently joined the growing ranks of states that are looking to potentially legalize recreational cannabis in 2020 by making the move to officially introduce a ballot initiative.
According to ABC Fox Montana, an advocacy group called New Approach Montana submitted two initiatives at the start of the legislative session to the Montana Secretary of State last week that could potentially legalize cannabis. One would legalize cannabis and establish a regulated industry, and the other would make 21 the legal age to purchase cannabis.
The group is now waiting for the state to approve the measures, and if that happens, it will begin collecting signatures to get the measures in front of voters in November. “I’ve heard a lot about holes in the budget, said Pepper Petersen, political director of New Approach,. “I don’t want to see a state sales tax, and I don’t know many people who do outside the legislative halls. I just think you have to face reality when you look at the budgets, and I think this will be an attractive source of income.”
If the bill passes, cannabis will be taxed at 20 percent, something that could generate up to $35 million for the state by 2025 according to New Approach Montana. The revenue would go to “conservation, substance abuse treatment, veterans’ services, long-term health care, local governments (where marijuana is sold) and general revenue for the state.”
Both of the measures that have been submitted by New Approach are currently under review by the Legislative Services Division, and it remains to be seen if they will be approved.