Cannabis plant

HELENA- On Monday, two ballot initiatives were submitted to bring recreational marijuana use into the Treasure State.

New Approach Montana (NAM), a statewide campaign working to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older, told us they want to bring recreational use into Montana, but in a way that sticks to those core Montanan values.

According to a release from NAM, the first initiative would legalize marijuana in Montana and establish a system to regulate and tax marijuana use for adults.

NAM said in a release that the initiative sets a 20% sales tax on marijuana and allocates the tax revenue to land, water, and wildlife conservation programs, veteran services, substance abuse treatment, long-term health care, local governments where marijuana is sold, and general revenue for the state. 

The second initiative would establish a legal age for marijuana use, the release saying it is a constitutional amendment that would set the legal minimum age for marijuana consumption to be 21.

“The number reason for everyone involved was justice and freedom- I guess that is very reflective. You know of our ethos in Montana, you know we are very liberty-minded,” said Pepper Peterson, political director for New Approach Montana. “Everybody wanted to make sure that anyone who had been convicted of a low-level marijuana offense that would now be legal under the new law would have their record expunged.”

The initiatives were submitted to the State Attorney General’s Office and must have the language approved before the group can start gathering signatures in an effort to put the issues on the ballot in November of 2020.

If the final petitions are approved, the campaign says they need to gather 25,468 signatures to qualify for the statutory initiative for the 2020 ballot and 50,936 signatures to qualify for the constitutional initiative.

You can read the full initiatives on New Approach Montana’s website here.

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