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Montana group submits signatures for adult-use cannabis initiative

A group behind legalizing recreational marijuana in Montana said it is submitting for verification roughly 52,000 signatures – more than double the required amount – to qualify a November ballot initiative that would regulate and tax adult-use MJ sales in the state.

New Approach Montana started collecting signatures May 9, observing strict public health protocols, after it was denied permission to gather digital signatures.

The Helena-based group also is submitting signatures to government officials for a complementary initiative that would set a legal minimum age for purchasing, consuming or possessing marijuana at age 21.

The ballot initiative that sets up a regulated market includes these key aspects:

  • The state Department of Revenue would license and regulate the industry. The business license application process would begin by Oct. 1, 2021.
  • Smokable flower sales would be permitted. Products would be required to be tested for potency and contaminants.
  • A 20% retail tax would be assessed on adult-use products.

New Approach Montana said the governor’s budget office estimates that marijuana tax revenue will reach $48 million a year by 2025, which would equate to a $240 million-a-year market based on the 20% tax rate.

Pepper Petersen, spokesperson for New Approach Montana, said in a statement that the group “worked around the clock” in all 100 state House districts “so that Montana voters could sign our petitions safely and qualify these popular initiatives for the November ballot.”

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