Montana Rejects Government Funding for Cannabis, Likely to Delay Legalization

Montana Rejects Government Funding for Cannabis, Likely to Delay Legalization

Here we go again; Government officials are once again trying to suppress voter-approved legislation surrounding cannabis with the rejection of approved funding and the hearing of ‘amendments’ concerning cannabis legalization. Here is what we know:

The climate of cannabis in Montana

One of the states that shocked the cannabis community was Montana, passing legislation that supports the legalization of cannabis throughout the state. Unlike other states that were seeking legalization in 2020, Montana did not have any pro-cannabis laws on its books. This means that compliance and enforcement will be completely new for all parties from the legal big wigs and law enforcement to the cannabis companies and recreational Montanan stoner. The Treasure State will not provide legal access to cannabis until early 2022The Big Sky Country is likely to become a ‘Big High Country’ as possession and consumption of cannabis by adults 21 or older will be completely legal. 

Unfortunately,  government officials are ignoring the cries of the majority of Montanans who voted in favor of legalizing cannabis in the state just last year. Montana legislators have outright opposed a request from Montana’s Department of Revenue for money to fund the voter-approved cannabis legalization program. This is viewed by many as a tactic that is likely to delay the launch of legal cannabis sales in Montana. In the meantime, the governor is proposing to shift future tax revenue from sales to programs that are different from what was outlined by the bill passed by the residents in favor of legalizing cannabis in late 2020.

Examining the amendment to cannabis in Montana

According to the amendment to the recently-approved cannabis bill in Montana, half of the revenue associated with cannabis would assist in funding environmental conservation programs. However, with every give there is an equal amount of take. This type of fund allocation would grant reduced funding for veterans services, health care, local governments, and the general fund for the state of Montana.

Montana’s suggested alternative a stalling tactic?

Remember when playing a game with your sibling would go in your favor so well that your sibling suggests new rules on how to play the game? Moreover, remember how sure you were they were only changing the game simply because they never thought you’d be winning in the first place? Well, that is virtually what the Montana Government is pulling. Aside from rejecting the funds to support the bill regarding cannabis legislation in Montana, legislators have introduced an amendment in January 2020. Many residents believe that these amendments and rejections of funds for voter-approved programs is simply the way of the opposing administration of stalling the inevitable. Many did not believe that Montana would legalize cannabis this early in the political revamping of the plant. This includes Montana lawmakers. This may explain why they would refuse federal funding for jobs associated with a state’s new program implementation. The Governor of Montana Greg Gianforte stated last month he will “recognize the voice” of voters regarding cannabis legislation. Well by God Greg: we surely can’t tell.

Montana marijuana market projections

Legalization in Montana is expected to bring in more than $1.5 million in costs surrounding overseeing the state-approved program. In the months leading up to the voting of cannabis legalization in Montana, economists at the University of Montana predicted that a licensed cannabis industry could create more than $50 million in annual tax revenue once the market is up and running. However, these filibustering tactics performed by lawmakers is likely to freeze the implementation of regulation and compliance regarding cannabis for another fiscal year.

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