Dueling recreational cannabis legalization campaigns in Montana

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At least two political campaigns are underway in Montana to get recreational marijuana ballot measures before voters in 2020.

If multiple measures end up making the ballot, they could split the vote and deter legalization for several more years

According to the Missoulian, one of the two campaigns, MontanaCan, had already filed its ballot measure with the secretary of state as of June 28.

The other, Coalition 406, which is backed by national cannabis advocacy group Marijuana Policy Project, is still drafting its measure.

Coalition 406 plans to spend upwards of $4 million on its campaign. By contrast, the more grassroots MontanaCan has a budget of $500,000.

According to the Missoulian, the two campaigns appear to be similar in what they’re aiming to get into state law, including:

  • Recreational cannabis taxes of about 15%.
  • Lowering or eliminating the medical marijuana state tax.
  • Protecting current MMJ providers from bigger out-of-state business interests.
  • Maintaining Montana’s MJ inventory tracking system.

Because Coalition 406 hasn’t released draft ballot language – and that likely won’t happen for another six to eight weeks, a spokesman said – a side-by-side comparison of the two measures isn’t yet possible.

A University of Montana poll found 50.5% of respondents support rec legalization, while just 37.4% opposed it.

In other words, legalization has solid support but isn’t necessarily a foregone conclusion.