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Gianforte administration’s marijuana implementation bill introduced

It's not only bill to modify voter initiative
(Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Montana Jan. 1, 2021)
Posted at 11:29 AM, Mar 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 12:30:43-04

HELENA — One of the most anticipated bills of the 2021 Legislature – the measure containing the Gianforte administration’s proposal to implement recreational marijuana in Montana – was introduced Monday morning.

House Bill 701, sponsored by Rep. Mike Hopkins, R-Missoula, would make many changes to the 2020 initiative passed by voters last November, that legalized recreational marijuana in the state.

Among the significant changes is a requirement that voters in any county must approve the establishment of marijuana dispensaries or other businesses within its border – as opposed to the current law, passed by initiative, that says the businesses are allowed unless county voters choose to “opt-out.”

It’s also not the only bill in play to rewrite the initiative law that legalizes recreational marijuana.

Rep. Derek Skees, R-Kalispell, introduced his House Bill 670 last week. Among other things, HB670 would reduce the tax on recreational marijuana from 20% to 15% and direct two-thirds of the tax revenue toward funding public-employee retirement systems.

Skees’ bill is scheduled for its first hearing Tuesday before the House Business and Labor Committee. Hopkins’ bill had yet to be scheduled for hearing, as of Monday morning.