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Montana Bill to Abolish Recreational Marijuana Industry and Restrict Medical Cannabis Fails in Senate Committee

Montana Bill to Abolish Recreational Marijuana Industry and Restrict Medical Cannabis Fails in Senate Committee 

A proposed bill in Montana that would have abolished the state’s recreational marijuana industry and imposed strict regulations on medical cannabis has failed to advance. Senator Keith Regier introduced Senate Bill 546 on March 30th, which aimed to curb the demand for marijuana sales by prohibiting all non-medical cannabis sales following the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana in November 2020. However, the bill was subsequently tabled by a Senate committee six days later.

During the first year of sales, which began on January 1st, 2022, state retailers generated $203 million in transactions. As a result, the Montana Senate expressed concerns about potentially undermining the will of the voters, as opponents such as Republican Senate President Jason Ellsworth and Jason Small, Chair of the Chamber’s Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs Committee, voted against the bill alongside the committee’s Democrats. The bill was defeated by a 6-4 margin, according to a report by the Montana Free Press.

If passed, the bill would have imposed a 20% tax on medical marijuana, up from the current 4%, limited the number of plants that adults could grow at home to one, and set a 10% potency cap on cannabis flower and medical marijuana concentrates. Notably, the bill was sponsored by Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a national prohibitionist organization that claimed the only purpose of “potent marijuana products” is to “try to addict kids,” as reported by the Montana Free Press.

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