Montana Marijuana Legalization Initiative to Be on November Ballot

Montana Marijuana Legalization Initiative to Be on November Ballot

Montana may be the next state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes!

Acampaign to legalize marijuana said Friday it has cleared the signature hurdles to see its two initiatives on the ballot in Montana’s general election in less than four months’ time.

According to reports from the Montana Secretary of State’s Office, 35,458 signatures have been collected on a petition to put Initiative 190 on the ballot: The initiative is sponsored by New Approach Montana. The initiative would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in Montana for everyone 21 and older.New Approach’s CI-118 is a constitutional amendment to set the age of consumption at 21: Advocates haves collected 52,315 signatures. The be put on the November ballot the measures required 25,468 and 50,936 signatures, respectively.

“We’re very certain that we’re going to have both issues on the ballot,” New Approach spokesperson Pepper Petersen said Friday. “The fact that we got so many signatures, there’s not a single town in Montana that’s not represented here. I thought we’d have to go chase signatures in Pondera County; no, they came to us.”

According to the Missoulian, Petersen said the group does not anticipate any legal challenges to the proposals because such high litigation costs would likely spur opponents to simply fund a competing campaign. “Moving forward at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has become more intense, Petersen said the campaign will shift from blanketing the state to focusing energy on talks with legislators, medical marijuana dispensary owners, clergy and tribal leaders. “

“After you qualify for the ballot, people take you a lot more seriously,” he said. “It’s been amazing talking to Republican legislators. The conversation is now about revenue, and in the face of COVID, this revenue is so badly needed.”

The Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning has released a fiscal note on legalization, finding it could bring in about $48 million in revenue once matured in 2025. In June, New Approach announced it had collected more than 130,000 signatures on its petition to reach the ballot. The amount of rejected signatures between the two initiatives totaled roughly 44,000.

If Montana does legalize marijuana in November, they would become the 12th U.S. state to do so in less than 10 years. In 2012, not one state had legal marijuana. That year both Washington and Colorado approved initiatives to legalize marijuana. Since then, nine additional states have made the move, not to mention the over 30 which have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

Since the first U.S. state legalized in 2012, the entire nations of Canada and Uruguay have also legalized the plant.

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