HELENA, Mont. - Montana lawmaker Representative Matt Regier from House District 4 said he wants to amend Initiative 190 to give more sales tax money to human services and give licensed dispensaries an avenue to advertise their products.
Rep. Reiger said he has two bill drafts that he's hoping to introduce to the 67th Legislature.
One of them aims to amend Initiative 190, by specifically changing how sales tax revenues from recreational marijuana are distributed.
"The taxpayers and the public of Montana as a whole needs to be protected first. In my mind, some sort of trust fund so there is money there for the negative effects of recreational marijuana," Regier said.
I-190 states recreational marijuana is to be taxed 20%. Just over 10% of that revenue is to be contributed to the state's general fund.
The rest of the tax revenue is to be directed toward conservation programs, substance abuse treatment and veterans services, amongst other things. Reiger said he wants human services, like substance abuse treatment, to be a priority.
"To put a trail system in while the Department of Health and Human Services is having to deal with mental health of a fallout because of recreational marijuana is not a prudent choice," Regier said.
The same bill draft also aims to protect state departments' funding.
"We've seen in other states that have legalized recreational marijuana, that there is fallout to state agencies, and there needs to be money there for that, instead of asking the taxpayer to pick up the tab," he said.
But his other bill draft wants to give licensed dispensaries a better chance to profit through advertising. Currently, I-190 prohibits marijuana advertising.
"Let the legal dispensaries have a website and have an app so their customers can discretely find them," he said.
Rep. Regier is in favor of pushing the Oct. 1 start date back for recreational marijuana license applications.
"I'm looking to bump that back to the start of next year to give the Department of Revenue more time," Regier said.
These are drafts of bills that have not yet been introduced for legislative review.
Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee eliminated the Department of Revenue's request for over $1.3 million to start the recreational marijuana program.
The department declined an interview, but said they are still working with the legislature to implement I-190.