The first of the two initiatives would legalize cannabis in Montana for adults aged 21 and over, and establish a regulatory framework for cultivation and sales. The second is a constitutional amendment that would set the legal minimum age for marijuana consumption at 21.
“Montanans support legalizing marijuana and setting the minimum age at 21,” said Pepper Petersen, spokesperson for New Approach Montana in a press release. “Our initiatives will give voters the opportunity to approve those laws at the ballot box on Election Day. It’s time for Montana to stop wasting law enforcement resources that could be spent fighting more serious crime. We can shift marijuana out of the illicit market and into licensed, regulated, and tax-paying businesses. At the same time, we can create jobs and generate significant new revenue for the state.”
New Approach Montana is sponsoring both initiatives, which were were drafted with input from Montana voters, stakeholders, and policy experts, establishing a legalization policy that builds upon the state’s existing medical marijuana framework.
The initiative would also set a 20% sales tax on cannabis, which would not apply to medical products. The tax revenue would go to land, water, and wildlife conservation programs; veteran services; substance abuse treatment; long-term health care; local governments where cannabis is sold; and general revenue for the state. New Approach Montana predicts that a 20% cannabis sales tax would generate more than $37 million per year in new revenue by 2025.