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California Senator explains next steps for psychedelics and broader drug reform after bill stalls

9/9/10--A bill to legalize the possession of psychedelics in California has been put on pause until next year, but the Senate sponsor, Sen. Scott Wiener (D), says the move is part of the “complicated legislative process” to get reform enacted—and he’s confident it will ultimately prevail. Sen. Wiener said that it took significant compromise both internally and externally to get the bill through the Senate and two Assembly committees before he ultimately decided to temporarily pull it last month to build broader support for passage next year. Read

Montana eases medical cannabis advertising rules

9/9/21--Montana regulators loosened the proposed rules for medical cannabis advertising after operators expressed concerns at public hearings about the initial draft regulations. The rules apply only to MMJ businesses, and state regulators still are drafting rules for Montana’s recreational marijuana market, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2022. Read

Helena, Lewis & Clark country preparing for recreational marijuana sales

9/2/21--The start of recreational marijuana sales in Montana is less than four months away, and local governments are beginning to consider what options they have for regulating the expanding industry. Helena City commissioners supported moving forward with a review of zoning rules for marijuana, as well as city ordinances on smoking in public places, while Lewis and Clark County leaders say they haven’t started updating their own regulations for recreational marijuana. However, they have started looking at the possibility of adopting a local-option tax on marijuana sales. Read

Cities grapple with what legal weed will mean

8/5/21--With five months until Montana’s adult-use marijuana market opens up, municipalities from Kalispell to Billings are figuring out what legal cannabis will look like in their communities. It’s now up to municipalities to figure out things like which zoning districts dispensaries will be allowed in and whether legal marijuana will be subject to local option sales taxes. Read

Marijuana advertising bill in Senate hearings

3/22/21--A bill on marijuana advertising has passed the House and is now in Senate committee hearings. If it becomes law, cannabis companies could advertise their products on websites and apps. Supporters argue the bill will help legal companies compete against the black market. But opponents say there are loop holes and more language is needed in the bill. Read

Group that spent $5M on Montana marijuana legalization measures won’t have to reveal donors

3/11/21--Montana’s top political cop now says a national group that spent millions supporting the successful voter initiative campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana will not have to reveal its donors. The decision ends a months-long effort to force the organization to provide more information about where the money it spent in Montana came from. Read

Montana’s legalization plan: Homegrow bans, THC caps, 20% taxes. Yay?

3/17/21--Montana Governor Greg Gianforte released his plan today to implement cannabis legalization in the Republican-controlled state. Gov. Gianforte’s distinctly nanny-state vision for legal weed comes in the form of a bill sponsored by Republican state Rep. Mike Hopkins. Read

Bill drafts on marijuana tax appropriations and advertising

1/26/21--Montana lawmaker Representative Matt Regier from House District 4 wants to amend Initiative 190 to give more sales tax money to human services and give licensed dispensaries an avenue to advertise their products. Rep. Reiger said he has two bill drafts that he's hoping to introduce to the 67th Legislature. One of them aims to amend Initiative 190, by specifically changing how sales tax revenues from recreational marijuana are distributed. Read

What you should know about recreational marijuana in Montana

1/1/21--As of January 1, 2021, it is no longer illegal to possess small amounts of marijuana for recreational use in Montana. However, Montanans shouldn’t expect to be able to immediately buy marijuana at a retail outlet, unless they have a medical card. The sections allowing recreational sales won’t take effect until at least October 2021, and current dispensaries are still limited to serving only registered patients. Read

Opponents mount last minute challenge to marijuana legalization

10/16/20--Opponents of two ballot initiatives to legalize recreational marijuana sales to adults 21 and up in Montana are mounting a last-minute legal challenge to block the measures being voted on. Read

Familiar face leads new charge against recreational pot measure

9/10/20--Montana Contractors Association CEO David Smith expressed the group's opposition to marijuana legalization: workplace safety and a good labor supply. The group opposes Initiative 190, which would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, and a complementary proposal in Constitutional Amendment 118, which would set the legal age of consumption at 21. Read

Montana adult-use cannabis legalization initiative certified for November ballot

8/13/20--A citizen initiative in Montana to legalize a commercial recreational marijuana program gathered enough valid signatures to appear on the November ballot, according to the Secretary of State’s office. The ballot initiative, backed by New Approach Montana, would set up a regulated adult-use market. Read

National groups to spend $3M on campaign to legalize marijuana in Montana

6/22/20--The backers of a voter initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana formed a new group, New Approach Montana, with national backing, that’s prepared to spend at least $3 million to get the measure and a companion constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot and pass them. Read

Montana activists submit 130,000 signatures for marijuana legalization initiatives despite coronavirus setbacks

6/19/20--Montana activists are turning in more than 130,000 signatures on Friday to qualify a pair of legalization initiatives for the November ballot. While the coronavirus pandemic took a major hit on the New Approach Montana campaign, forcing a temporary suspension of signature gathering during critical months, they relaunched the process in recent weeks and submitted their final petitions batch on the deadline day. Read

Nebraska and Montana marijuana activists resume ballot signature gathering amid Coronavirus

5/15/20--Campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana in Montana and medical cannabis in Nebraska are back in action after temporary suspensions due to the coronavirus pandemic. In short, The Nebraska initiative would allow physicians to recommend cannabis to patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions. Montana activists are pushing two measures: one statutory initiative to establish a regulated cannabis market for adult use as well as a constitutional amendment stipulating that only those 21 and older can participate in the market. Read

Higher costs, local bans have Montana’s small medical marijuana producers scaling up or shutting down

10/26/18--In Montana's new medical marijuana system, small growers are feeling the pinch. The number of providers in the state has been cut by more than a third so far this year. Some say that they're being priced out by huge operations that can absorb the additional costs. Small and mid-sized providers, who've already navigated an uncertain regulatory environment through the years, say they've been hit hard by the new costs. Read

Police make significant marijuana bust in Nixa

10/30/17--Police in Nixa have made the most significant marijuana bust in several years, in which a marijuana grow operation was found, and resulted in the seizure of drug paraphernalia and an estimated 25 pounds of marijuana. Read

State collects about $380,000 from medical marijuana tax

10/21/17--State leaders say they have collected about $380,000 in the first three months of a new tax on medical marijuana providers. The new tax took effect July 1 as part of Senate Bill 333, a major medical marijuana reform state lawmakers approved earlier this year. The money raised will be used to operate a marijuana tracking system and other new regulatory programs for the industry. The tax will drop from 4% on all providers’ gross sales to 2% on July 1, 2018.

Choteau city officials say no to medical marijuana

8/25/17--Citizens in Choteau say officials are deliberately doing everything they can to stop Bloom Montana, a legal business, from opening. City officials voted abruptly to put a 90 day moratorium on any medical marijuana sales. Residents say this stops more jobs from coming to the city. Bloom Montana will still open up on Main Street but only take orders at that location. Read  

Councilman Trapp calls for Columbia to push legal medical marijuana

8/24/17--To combat the opioid epidemic and open a door for improved policing practices, Columbia Councilman Michael Trapp plans to push for legalization of medicinal marijuana. Trapp hopes to rally a majority of the city council behind an effort to add medicinal cannabis legalization to the city’s lobbying agenda. Alongside directing the city lobbyist to advance drug reform legislation, Trapp said he also plans to ask the council to approve a resolution supporting statewide legalization petitions. Read

Third Bozeman marijuana dispensary employee sentenced on federal charge

8/24/17--Michael James Mason, 34, was sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to money laundering in connection with Montana Buds, a medical marijuana dispensary based in Bozeman. Mason pleaded guilty to the charge as part of an agreement in which the U.S. Attorney’s Office dismissed additional charges of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Read

Montana has nearly 18K medical marijuana patients

8/11/17--Montana has registered 10,000 medical marijuana patients since voters approved a ballot initiative that repealed a law that limited each provider to three patients. The state has added an average of 1,300 registered patients each month so far this year, and the Department of Public Health and Human Services now has more than 17,800 patients registered. Read

Montana agencies preparing for changes in medical marijuana program

6/28/17--One of the biggest changes in Montana’s medical marijuana program will be a new tax on marijuana providers – 4 percent of gross sales for the first year and 2 percent after that. The money will be used to administer the state’s medical marijuana program. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services is also adopting emergency rules, a limited set of rules that clarify how much marijuana cardholders can possess, in addition to creating the initial frameworks for testing laboratories, and the production of marijuana derivatives.

Medical marijuana dispensary owner sentenced to prison

6/16/17--Charlton Victor Campbell, owner of a Montana medical marijuana dispensary network, has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana. Under a plea agreement, Campbell forfeited $30,000 and the Montana Buds properties in Bozeman. Read

Montana may collect $1 million in medical marijuana taxes in first year

6/5/17--State revenue officials are working on the roll-out of the latest medical marijuana program with a tax on the drug — the first of its kind in the state. According to Gene Walborn, deputy director at Montana Department of Revenue, the 4-percent tax could bring in about $750,000, and based on the number of cardholders in May that number could push the state’s tax earnings closer to $1 million. The state is set to collect its first quarterly medical marijuana tax in October. Read

After years of restrictions, revised Montana medical marijuana regulations underway

4/25/17--A bill endorsed by the Montana House attempts to regulate the medical marijuana industry after voters last November approved lifting restrictions that severely limited distribution of the drug. The measure requires state officials to track marijuana in the state from seed to sale, to protect against the drug being sold on the black market. It also requires nurseries and distributors to be licensed, marijuana to be tested, and registered users to have photo identification cards. Read

Medical marijuana tax, tracking bill awaits governor’s signature

4/25/17--A signature from Montana Governor Steve Bullock is needed in order for a tax on medical marijuana providers becomes law in the state. The proposed tax on gross sales would start out at 4 percent in July and drop down to 2 percent a year later, funding state regulation over the industry. Read

Montana lawmakers may study recreational marijuana

4/11/17--House Joint Resolution 35 plans to create a committee to study how recreational legalization would be carried out in Montana. The panel would examine if liquor control should be a guide for marijuana control, how legalization has affected other states, and the pros and cons of it all.

Bill to regulate medical marijuana advances to house floor

4/11/17--A Montana legislative committee has advanced a bill to require testing of medical marijuana, and the licensing of providers after voters passed an initiative last year to lift restrictions on the drug's distribution. The House Taxation Committee approved the measure after making 20 amendments that would, among other things, exempt small marijuana providers from the testing requirement, and change the proposed fee structure for providers. Read

Bill would put 6 percent tax on medical marijuana

3/14/17--House Bill 529 would tax all marijuana products sold in the state of Montana at 6 percent. The revenue from the tax would go into the state’s general fund. Read

Judge rules to re-open marijuana dispensaries immediately

12/7/16--District Judge James Reynolds of Helena cleared the way for Montana's medical marijuana dispensaries to re-open after a three-month hiatus by ruling that a drafting error in a voter-approved ballot initiative should not delay the measure's implementation. Judge Reynolds ruled the error that pushed back the effective date of a key portion of the initiative until July 1 should not keep very ill patients from accessing the drug immediately. Read

Opposition forms against proposed 6% tax on medical marijuana

11/18/16--Gov. Steve Bullock recently announced the state's budget for next year. With the passage of I-182 on Election Day, the governor added a 6 percent tax for medical marijuana. Some are calling the 6 percent tax hypocrisy and believe the tax is meant to take advantage of patients. Read

Bills lining up in Legislature relating to marijuana issues

11/9/16--The Montana Legislature will have up to 10 bills relating to marijuana to debate when it opens on Jan. 2. The bills range from a blanket negation of the medical marijuana law to reforms that would return access to medical marijuana patients who are still cut off despite the Nov. 8 passing of citizens Initiative 182. Read

I-182: The marijuana initiative

10/14/16--According to David Winter of KULR 8 News, arguably the most controversial measure on the ballot this election season is I-182, the marijuana initiative. This week, Winter covers the pros, the cons, and the cost of all four statewide initiatives, in addition to providing perspectives on I-182.

Commissioner: Anti-marijuana group impeded complaint investigation

10/14/16--Commissioner of Political Practices Jon Motl has called a foul on the campaign to block a medical marijuana measure on the November ballot. Motl says Safe Montana interfered with his investigation by failing to report financial expenditures for a statewide billboard campaign urging voters to reject ballot initiative I-182, in addition to instructing billboard company Lamar to not provide a copy of Safe Montana’s contract. Read