Montana’s voter-approved cannabis efforts are moving forward

105 0

State lawmakers are finally coming to grips with voters’ acceptance of cannabis

Montana is getting closer and closer to receiving positive news when it comes to a bill to implement and tax recreational marijuana in the state. As one of the number-one priorities currently in a legislative session, it appears to be nearing its end after a Senate committee of lawmakers gave the go-ahead to a heavily amended version of the bill Wednesday night.

One of the most essential changes noted in the bill is the ability to partially restore funds in the bill for conservation and land easements, which were already stipulated in previously voter-approved legislation. In addition, it was also said that this version of the bill also allows people to grow marijuana at home on a limited basis, as well as some local taxes. One of the approved amendments has a priority focus on marijuana revenue through the Department of Revenue. $6 million to be allocated to the substance abuse prevention program called the HEART Fund (much of it earmarked for tribal health care), 20% to be used to help a program to fund conservation easements called Habitat Montana.

Once all of these aspects have been met, a small percentage of the remainder goes to the maintenance of trails, parks, and wildlife habitats. Senator Tom Jacobson, however, made it clear that these funds would not be available until 2024, which means the bill would allocate money from the annual biennium. “Trying to stay as true to the initiative as possible has been our priority,” Jacobson said. Since the bill’s arrival in the Senate in April, there have been lengthy deliberations, and as time has passed, certain changes have been made so that all stakeholders will benefit in one way or another.