Montana Senate bill aims to dismantle adult-use cannabis market

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A little more than a year after Montana launched adult-use cannabis sales, a state senator has introduced a bill that would effectively shut down the program.

Senate Bill 546, introduced by Republican Keith Regier, zeroes in on “eliminating adult-use dispensaries” through several restrictions that would essentially dismantle recreational sales while limiting medical marijuana allowances, according to the Montana Free Press.

The bill would:

  • Prohibit non-MMJ sales.
  • Increase the state tax on medical marijuana from 4% to 20%.
  • Lower the THC cap on flower from 35% to 10%.
  • Lower the THC levels in individual edibles from 10 milligrams to 5 milligrams.
  • Cap the THC percentage in concentrates at 10%.

“If SB 546 passes, it would render the entire cannabis program worthless, not only for the operators but also for consumers and patients in the state,” Zach Block, owner of Kalispell dispensary Montana Canna, told the Free Press.

Montana has a political trifecta, with the governor’s office and both legislative chambers controlled by Republicans.

It became the 14th state to legalize recreational marijuana after voters approved a ballot measure in November 2020, joining Arizona and New Jersey during that same election cycle.

Montana lawmakers and regulators took years to develop a regulatory framework to govern the state’s adult-use market.

Retailers sold $202,947,328 worth of recreational cannabis in 2022, roughly double the amount of medical marijuana sales.