Some proposed legislation could limit the business model for companies growing cannabis in Montana, restricting them to growing their product exclusively indoors. Proponents of the bill say this law would also protect the state's growing hemp industry.
Senate Bill 209 is not a shock to the marijuana industry. It asks that all commercial marijuana cultivation take place indoors, but lawmakers argue it also protects hemp crops.
"To be defined as hemp, it has to have a .3% THC level to be defined as hemp. If it tests over .3 THC, it becomes marijuana. But they are not marijuana producers, right? They are not licensed to sell marijuana, so they are going to have to plow all that under," Senator Tom Jacobson, from Senate District 11 said.
Supporters say this is a measure to protect both industries.
"This is a necessary thing to do. As an agriculturalist myself, and someone who believes it's a new market, but we need to not mess up the market we've built for hemp," Agriculturalist Willie Congdon said.
But those against the bill say marijuana plants will not cross pollinate with hemp.
"Marijuana companies are not going to cross pollinate the hemp crops because they only raise female plants. So they are actually the ones at risk," Opponent Erica Siate said.
"When it comes to regulations and restrictions, I would like to see an amendment that says hemp growers are the ones that should be indoors," Opponent Laurie Little Dog said.
The bill is set to return to the agriculture, livestock and irrigation committee with amendments during the second week of April.