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Montana’s Legalization Plan: Home Grow Bans, THC Limits, 20% Taxes. Yay?

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It turns out that Montans like the “big government,” at least when it comes to weeds.

Montana governor Greg Gianforte was forced by the will of voters on election day last November and today released his plan to legalize cannabis in the Republican-controlled state. Governor Gianforte’s outspoken nanny state vision for legal weed comes in the form of a bill sponsored by Republican MP Mike Hopkins.

Governor Gianforte’s plan provides:

Prohibition of home growing, although voters have legalized 4 plants per person 20% sales tax plus local taxes and fees – a standard ban on local sales unless cities decide to cap THC in flower buds at 35%

Sales would begin in January 2022.

All is not lost yet. Critics say the law’s obvious flaws – including banning logos on packaging and any advertising – could be changed by May 11 in the Montana House and Senate.

“I am expecting a lot of amendments in the House and they will reject every one of them when they go to the Senate. Senate changes are the only major changes, ”said Pepper Petersen, author of Legalization Initiative 190 and CEO of the Montana Cannabis Guild.

Voter approval, government resistance

With an approval rate of 57%, Initiative 190 – the measure for adult use – received even more votes than former President Trump in the November general election in Montana. Trump won the state with 56%.

Decriminalization went into effect on January 1st under Initiative 190.

After the triumphant vote in November, proponents wondered if the anti-pot governor and the state’s banned lawmakers would resist the will of voters, as similar hypocrisy rages in Idaho and South Dakota.

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Despite its flaws, the bill updates the cannabis law for residents of Montana – and the 12 million people who visit the state annually.

The implementation of the program will not be delayed: according to the language in Initiative 190, licensing will start in October and the sale of leisure activities in January 2022.

“This [bill]You can hit the start button and it’s a fully functional, working marijuana system for the state of Montana, ”bill sponsor Hopkins told Lee Newspapers on Wednesday.

THC potency caps, no logos allowed

The bill’s limitations are less onerous than they could be.

Individuals are allowed up to:

1 ounce floweror 8 grams of concentrateor 800 mg edible THC.

This is serious progress away from the state’s draconian ban on penalties.

A bill from Hardcore Prohibition State Senator David Howard (R) tabled earlier this year aims to limit the effectiveness of all products to 15% THC. Instead, the governor is proposing an upper limit of 35% THC for flowers. (Most flowers have 16-24% THC.)

Food is limited to 10 milligrams per piece and 100 mg per pack. (A starting dose of THC is 2.5 mg.)

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The bill calls for strict packaging rules: all cannabis products must be packaged in black and white, and logos are prohibited. Politics is already a cause for concern among businesses.

“With logos, images or differentiators removed from packaging, consumers have no easy way to find products that suit their preferences,” Michael Zens, co-owner of High Road Edibles, told Leafly. “We understand that products shouldn’t appeal to children, but we believe this approach to packaging will harm consumers.”

In addition, the bill provides for an ongoing ban on all advertising (this already applies to the state medical marijuana program). Commercial language bans often face legal challenges for reasons of the first change.

And finally, yes, the plan would also prohibit the growth of recreational homes, although the initiative passed by the voters provided for four plants per person and up to eight plants per household. However, homegrow remains clear to medical patients.

Plan new government revenue of $ 52 million

The governor also plans to raid environmental cannabis taxes and throw them into the state’s general fund.

New Approach Montana, which led the legalization campaign last year, hoped to dedicate an estimated $ 52 million in full program revenue to land conservation.

However, the governor and the state parliament decide on the final funds. The governor’s bill provides $ 6 million for a new drug abuse treatment program and 12% of the balance for conservation. The other 88% go to the general fund.

Dave Lewis, a former Republican lawmaker and budget manager who is now an advisor to the Montana Cannabis Guild, says people who were hoping the proceeds would go to public areas “shouldn’t be completely eradicated.”

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“It’s still a lot of money,” he told Leafly. “I think this is a really smart way to go [allocate] the receipts. “

Speaking of idiots, every city is automatically excluded from cannabis sales as part of the bill. Local cities that sign up can also limit licenses.

Who Can Sell Weed In Montana? True OGs

Both the adult program and the state’s medical marijuana program are overseen by the Treasury Department.

Only currently licensed medical providers can obtain a Rec license for the first year of the program. The Montana Cannabis Guild is currently campaigning for this moratorium to be extended to eighteen months.

The bill also provides a license for adult use for each of the eight tribes in Montana with a reservation. However, retail and growing locations must be outside of the reservation due to federal law, but within 25 miles of the limit of the reservation.

“I am a strong advocate of licensing the cultivation or retail sale of marijuana to the tribes,” Senator Jason Small (R), a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe and an active voice in the drafting of the bill, told Leafly.

“… Tribes often miss business expansion opportunities because they are under federal control …”

Montana State Senator Jason Small (R)

“The fact is that tribes often miss out on business expansion opportunities because they are under federal control and deal with different rules than the rest of the state,” he added.

Here’s an added bonus for customers: Tribal unit licenses allow visitors to purchase local cannabis in remote parts of the state like Little Bighorn Battlefield and Fort Peck where there might otherwise be no store for a hundred miles.

A blueprint for “Red State” cannabis

While the bill is far from perfect, it is largely a success for advocates of legalization in the state, especially given the drastic steps Montana’s neighbors have taken to suppress cannabis reform.

And the work in the state is not over yet. Montana voters voted far more than they get.

“We’re definitely going to be pushing for more of the restorative justice elements we’ve been working on in 190,” said Petersen of the guild. “Someone arrested 20 years ago in another state or town for possession of a joint should have no control over whether or not they can participate in the Montana marijuana market.”

Max Savage Levenson

Max Savage Levenson probably has the lowest cannabis tolerance of any writer on the cannabis beat. He also writes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other people with glasses. He is the co-host of the Hash Podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.

Show article by Max Savage Levenson

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Beth Edmonds