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Montana Issues Proposed Rules for Future Cannabis Marketplace |

Regulators in Montana last week issued a slate of proposed rules for the state’s coming recreational marijuana marketplace, and cannabis advocates are excited to get started. 

Pot sales for adults aged 21 and older are scheduled to get underway on New Year’s Day in Big Sky Country, which means the clock is ticking for the Montana Department of Revenue to lay out regulations for the would-be cannabis businesses. 

“The deadlines are aggressive,” said Kristan Barbour, administrator of the Department of Revenue’s Cannabis Control Division, as quoted by local television station KTVH. “Really, the rules are our biggest challenge.”

To consider adopting the new rules, the Department of Revenue is holding a public hearing on the 16th of November in Helena.

“Our focus was really to be business-friendly and to try to work with the industry in a fashion that makes the rules adaptable to their current business structure and that they’ll be able to evolve into without a whole lot of pain,” Barbour told KTVH.

Montana voters approved a ballot measure last year that legalized adult-use marijuana. This was one of the four states which will vote in 2020 to repeal pot prohibition. South Dakota, New Jersey, Arizona were also included.

Montana’s legislature passed legislation in spring to carry out the voter-approved legal pot programme. Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law in May.

The legislation, known as House Bill 701, “implements and regulates the recreational marijuana program that voters approved in a ballot initiative last year and funds a substance abuse prevention program that the new governor has championed since his first days in office,” the Daily Montanan It was reported at the time. 

Gianforte, after signing the bill, spoke out in support of the HEART Fund. This fund will use revenue from adult-use weed programs to pay for substance abuse treatment. Gianforte supports this group and believes they are a key part of the state’s future legalization. 

“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,” Gianforte said at the time. “Funding a full continuum of substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for communities, the HEART Fund will offer new support to Montanans who want to get clean, sober and healthy.”

The proposed rules unveiled by the state’s Department of Revenue last week cover 15 different sections related to the implementation of the program: license, application and renewal fees; marijuana manufacturer licenses; marijuana cultivator licenses; marijuana dispensary licenses; marijuana transporter licenses; combined use licenses; marijuana testing laboratory licenses; marijuana storage facility endorsement; worker permits; general labeling requirements; labeling requirements for marijuana flower; labeling of ingestible marijuana-infused products; labeling of non-ingestible marijuana-infused products; labeling requirements for marijuana concentrates and extracts and packaging requirements. 

The legalization of medical cannabis treatment in Montana began back in 2004. With 57 percent support, they approved recreational pot in 2020.

For some Montana voters, there will be more marijuana-related issues on the ballot. According to KTVH, “voters in Missoula and Yellowstone Counties could endorse a 3 percent, local option tax on recreational sales, medical sales or both,” while voters “in Billings will vote whether to allow or prohibit adult-use marijuana dispensaries within city limits.”

According to the Daily Montanan, the new law allows the one-half of state counties that approved last year’s ballot initiative to “have recreational in their borders by default, while voters in the the other half of counties will have to take an affirmative action to bring recreational marijuana in their boundaries if so desired.”