Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill late Wednesday to amend the 2020 voter-approved adult legalization bill.
House Bill 701 makes several changes to the voter-initiated bill. Specifically, the deadline for licensing marijuana retail sales by state regulators will be postponed from October 1, 2021 to January 1, 2022. Initially (for the first 18 months), only those who already have medical pharmacies can retail marijuana sales.
The measure also reduces the number of cannabis plants that an adult can legally grow in a private household from a total of four plants and / or four seedlings to no more than two plants and / or two seedlings. Households with more than one adult are allowed to grow twice as much without penalty.
It also sets limits on the amount and potency of the THC content that should be available in retail products. Cannabis flowering is limited to 35 percent THC; edible products are limited to no more than 100 mg of THC per pack, and other concentrated products are limited to 800 mg.
Under the revised law, voters in counties who voted against the 2020 initiative will now have to hold a separate vote in order for retailers to operate in their regions. In countries where the majority of voters opted for the initiative, no further local action is required.
Retail sales are subject to a 20 percent excise tax, while local communities may impose an additional 3 percent tax. Much of this proceeds will now be used to fund substance abuse treatment programs.
57 percent of the Montaner approved the initiative in November. Even so, many politicians in the state’s Republican-led legislature pushed against the vote and tried to rewrite the law significantly.
Commenting on the changes, NORML Assistant Director Paul Armentano said, “This is another recent example of Republican lawmakers cracking down on the majority of voters who support reforming our failed marijuana laws. In Mississippi, we’ve seen a Republican-led effort nullifying the vote to legalize access to medicinal cannabis, and in South Dakota, the Republican governor seeks voter desires to legalize adult use of the plant and to regulate, to repeal. Here we have lawmakers adjusting the law in ways that are inconsistent with what the majority of voters opted for. Regardless of whether you support or oppose the legalization of cannabis, this trend should be thought deeply. “
The full text of the revised law is online here.