Cannabis industry trade groups in Montana have put their support behind lawmakers’ efforts to extend the state’s moratorium on new adult-use cannabis shops until 2025, the Helena Independent Record reports. The legislation may have a dual effect in protecting legacy cannabis operators who do not want an over-saturated market and mollifying conservative lawmakers who do not want to see more cannabis businesses in the state.
The proposal is in an interim legislative committee and will need to pass the full legislature, then be signed by the governor, the Record notes.
The effort would be an extension of an 18-month moratorium put in place in 2021 to regulate Montana‘s adult-use cannabis system. That moratorium was an extension of a one-year hold on new cannabis shops that had been part of the state’s 2020 legalization ballot measure and which was intended to protect existing cannabis operators while they figure out the market and get settled before large cannabis corporations enter the space.
State Sen. Jason Ellsworth (R), testifying at the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, said, “We’re a year and a half into this program. This allows us more time to see how these changes take effect.” He added he does not think the state should issue any more cannabis licenses, the Record points out.
State Sen. Jason Ellsworth, testifying at the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, said he does not think the state should issue any more cannabis licenses.
“We’re a year and a half into this program. This allows us more time to see how these changes take effect.” — Ellsworth, in his testimony
JD “Pepper” Petersen, President of the Montana Cannabis Guild, said local jurisdictions are still navigating the new regulations. Peterson believes if the moratorium is not extended, out-of-state cannabis firms with “large, powerful interests with teams of lawyers” could influence how the Montana adult-use cannabis system moves forward.
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