Montana Lawmakers Approve Legislation to Amend Voter-Approved Marijuana Legalization Law

Members of the Montana House and Senate approved legislation to amend the state’s voter-approved adult use marijuana legalization law, sending the measure to Republican Governor Greg Gianforte’s desk.

The House approved House Bill 701 Tuesday by a 67 to 32 vote, after initially rejecting the measure a day earlier following contentious debate amongst lawmakers.

The measure decreases the personal cultivation limit from four mature plants per adult and eight mature plants per household as originally approved by voters, to two mature plants per adult and four mature plants per household. Under HB 701, medical cannabis patients may still cultivate up to four mature plants per patient.

The measure also allocates six million dollars to Gov. Gianforte’s fund, which will be directed toward substance abuse and addiction programs. Five million dollars will be allocated to habitat conservation funds.

Retail sales will be taxed at twenty percent and are expected to begin in January 2022. The bill’s fiscal note estimates $13 million in tax revenue to be generated in 2022 and increases to $52 million by 2025.

On Election Day 2020, almost 60 percent of Montana voters decided in favor of I-190 and Initiative 118, a pair of complementary, citizen-initiated ballot measures legalizing the personal possession, commercial production, and retail sales of marijuana to adults. The measures went into effect on January 1, 2021.