Jim Bowen

Montana Legislation Would Require Legislators to Study Rec. Cannabis

A measure has been introduced in Montana’s House of Representatives that would direct a legislative committee to “examine the legalization, regulation, taxation, and public health and safety aspects of recreational marijuana in Montana,” the Montana Standard reports. The legislation would require the results of the study to be presented to the 2019 Legislature.

The proposal would create an interim legislative committee to conduct the study, which would examine whether Montana’s liquor control system would make good model for an adult-use cannabis system, how tax revenues have been affected in legal states, public health and safety spending, and child drug use.

Democratic state Rep. Mary Dunwell, who introduced House Joint Resolution 35, said cannabis legalization is not a question of if but when, and that being armed with research when that time comes is better than trying to cram a bill blind through a 90-day session.

“You don’t have time to do good research,” she said in the report.

House and Senate leaders on the bipartisan Legislative Council would appoint the committee that would meet for 20 months. They would seek input from the Department of Public Health and Human Services, the Revenue, Justice, and Agriculture departments, lobbying groups, local police, district courts, and schools.

If the resolution passes – and is voted by lawmakers as one of the top 20 proposed interim committees – the study would be completed by Sept. 15, 2018.

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