At the November ballot, Montanans will be voting on two separate marijuana measures; a statutory change that would create a system of legal cannabis access for adult-use as well as a separate constitutional amendment that would limit the market to those aged 21 and over. If they vote in favor of the statutory measure, possession of up to an ounce of cannabis would be legal. Additionally, residents would also be allowed to cultivate four plants and four seedlings at home. Submitted by New Approach Montana, both of the initiatives have been met with plenty of support, including from a coalition of environmental conservation groups.
If recreational sales become legal, the state will tax sales at 20% with a significant portion of those taxes dedicated to environmental conservation programs. This would ensure Montana’s famous public lands and parks are well cared for, something a new Public Lands Coalition (“PLC”) comprised of four conservation organizations, including the Montana Conservation Voters and Montana Wildlife Federation, is very happy about. “All Montanans share the values of open space, and as Montanans, we collectively own and steward some of the most special places on earth. We are in fact, the Last Best Place, and that’s a central part of our identity as Montanans,” says Pepper Petersen, political director for New Approach Montana.
“The allocations in I-90 reflect our values as Montanans and you see that in the initiative. Montanans know that marijuana revenue should be invested wisely, and our public lands in Montana are a great investment,” he says. In an op-ed published in the Missoulian newspaper, the coalition said that there is currently $60 million in “unmet conservation needs in Montana” for services such as “funding for landowners who want to offer access for hunting and fishing,” and tax revenue from cannabis sales would more than cover that.
“In order to continue to offer Montanans and our millions of guests an experience worth coming back for, we need to invest in our public lands. A vote for 118 and 190 is a vote to maintain and create trails, protect land for wildlife and fund our state parks,” the PLC, which includes Wild Montana Action Fund as well as the trust for Public Land writes. According to the coalition’s website, legalization would “provide more than $18 million per year to benefit our public lands; both maintaining current access and opening up new opportunities.”
“These additional funds would help to address the state’s backing of repairs to campgrounds, trails, wildlife habitat, opening access and increasing maintenance on our public lands.”
Industry watchers say sector players like Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) are probably happy that the push to legalize cannabis in Montana is being closely linked with the need to preserve the natural environment of the state.
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