Competing Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced In The Legislature
Two competing proposals introduced Monday outline how state lawmakers would regulate the legalization of recreational marijuana in Montana.
Montana voters approved a ballot initiative in November legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The Legislature now has to decide how to regulate the substance — and to spend the money made from taxes on the sale of it.
Gov. Greg Gianforte is backing the regulation and taxation plan in a bill carried by Rep. Mike Hopkins, a Republican from Missoula.
House Bill 701 would set up a 20% tax on recreational marijuana sales. It would funnel that revenue to the state’s general fund, after first putting $6 million toward an addiction prevention and treatment program proposed by Gianforte.
A much smaller portion of the revenue would go to state parks, trail maintenance and non-game wildlife programs.
It would put a cap on the amount of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, allowed in products. And the bill would limit the amount of marijuana adult consumers can possess.
Rep. Derek Skees, a Republican from Kalispell, is carrying the competing House Bill 670. It proposes a 15% tax on recreational marijuana sales and would increase the tax on medical marijuana sales from 4% to 5%. Under the bill, two-thirds of the revenue would be used to fund public employee pensions.
Skees' bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Business and Labor Committee Tuesday morning. Hopkins bill is expected to be heard later this week.