The legislation allows only the state’s current medical cannabis operators to obtain adult-use retail license for the first 18 months of sales, which are expected January 1, 2022. Recreational cannabis sales will not immediately commence in counties where voters rejected the reforms – instead, localities will have to hold elections to opt into sales. Counties where the reforms were approved will automatically opted in and would require a local election to opt out. Counties can also hold elections to implement a 3% local tax on cannabis sales.
The bill signed by Gianforte maintains a 20% tax on retail cannabis sales, directing up to $6 million annually to a fund for mental health and substance abuse treatment, known as the “HEART Fund.”
“Since January, we’ve been focused on implementing the will of Montana voters in a safe, responsible, and appropriately regulated manner. House Bill 701 accomplishes this. From the start, I’ve been clear that we need to bring more resources to bear to combat the drug epidemic that’s devastating our communities. Funding a full continuum of substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for communities, the HEART Fund will offer new supports to Montanans who want to get clean, sober, and healthy.” – Gianforte via KTVH
Under the measure, Montanans will be allowed to cultivate four plants per household – two mature and two immature per person. It also includes expungement provisions for crimes now legal under the new law and provides each of the state’s native American tribes one recreational license each.
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