Montana Senate Greenlights Recreational Cannabis
This year, business owners attested before the House Business and Labor Committee against Montana’s cannabis legislation. The bill would allow approximately 115 cannabis dispensaries in the Treasure State.
Last week, the Montana Senate approved the bill supporting the legalization of cannabis in the state. This also comes after the Montana GOP attempted to block cannabis legalization. The addition of Montana marks the 40+ state that has implemented pro-cannabis legislation. We love it when a plan comes together.
Montana’s cannabis culture, 2020-21
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 seeking legalization in 2020, Montana did not have any pro-cannabis laws on its books. This means that compliance and enforcement will be entirely new for all parties, from the significant legal guys 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 ignore the cries of most 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 maneuver is a tactic to delay the launch of legal cannabis sales in Montana. The governor proposes 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.
House Bill 588 and Senate Bill 701
According to the amendment to the recently approved cannabis bill in Montana, half of the revenue associated with cannabis would help fund environmental conservation programs. However, there is a small catch. This type of fund allocation would grant reduced funding for veterans services, health care, local governments, and the general fund for Montana.
The Montana Senate approved House Bill (now Senate Bill) 701 earlier this April. This bill legalizes cannabis for Montana on a recreational level. Before implementing SB 701, the call for recreational cannabis was referred to as the I-190 Initiative. The Montana Senate noted that the bill is supported by a “wide margin,” so passing SB 701 makes the most sense.
Montana, the new marijuana Mecca?
Now that Senate Bill 701 has passed, there is only one thing left to do: signing into law. Montana Governor Greg Gianforte must sign the bill into law for it to become effective. Like most cannabis legislation, the turnaround time for compliance and regulation is likely within the next two years. This means that adults 21 years or older should purchase recreational cannabis in Montana no later than July 1, 2023. This will give time for lawmakers to navigate the red (or should we say green) tape. Montanans believe that The Treasure State will produce some of the most potent cannabis distributed in the nation. Consumers think that the land is extremely fertile, with a statewide focus on agriculture held by virtually all Montanans. Only time will tell.
Montana marijuana market projections
Legalization in Montana expects to bring in more than $2 million in costs surrounding the state-approved program. In the months leading up to the voting of cannabis legalization in Montana, economists at the University of Montana projected that a licensed cannabis industry could create more than $50 million in tax revenue per year once the market is up and running. We can’t wait to see what The Treasure State has to offer.