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Law Montana

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Montana Marijuana Activists Weigh Appeal After Court Rejects Electronic Signatures For Legalization

Montana activists behind a proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure are weighing an appeal after a district court dismissed their lawsuit seeking the right to collect signatures electronically amid the coronavirus pandemic.

New Approach Montana, which suspended in-person signature gathering to mitigate the spread of the virus, sued the state and alleged that laws barring digital signature collection are unconstitutional. Top officials who’ve expressed opposition to cannabis reform were quick to condemn the suit.

And on Thursday, a state district court judge rejected the group’s request for declaratory and preliminary injunctive relief, concluding that they “failed to show that the statutes…infringe on Plaintiffs’ rights guaranteed by the Constitution under the present circumstances of this case.”

“The Court finds that Plaintiffs claims do not meet the threshold for injunctive relief at this time,” Judge John Larson said in the order, which also denied New Approach Montana’s request to extend the deadline to submit signatures from June 19 to August 3.

The group is behind two cannabis proposals: One statutory initiative that would allow adults to possess and purchase cannabis from licensed retailers and another constitutional amendment initiative that would make a technical change to state law specifying that only those 21 and older would be covered by the measure.

Despite the legal setback, advocates are keeping their options open.

“A bunch of Montana cowboys have a little over a month to qualify an initiative to legalize adult use marijuana for the November 2020 ballot,” Pepper Petersen, political director of New Approach, told Marijuana Moment. “The whole world fell apart in just a month, now I reckon it’s time for us to try to fix a small piece of our broken world in the same amount of time. If anyone can do it, this bunch of cannabis cowboys can.”

Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, which is helping to organize this and other state-based cannabis reform efforts around the country, also told Marijuana Moment that “New Approach Montana is considering an appeal” of the court’s order.

Attorney General Tim Fox, who had blamed activists themselves for starting petitioning relatively late prior to filing their suit, celebrated the court’s decision in a press release on Thursday.

“The District Court’s order is a victory for the rule of law and Montana’s constitution,” he said. “I am pleased with the ruling because the court’s job is to interpret laws, not to write them or suspend them.”

New Approach Montana is one of several drug policy reform campaigns that are pleading for relief from states in order to increase their chances of qualifying for ballots at a time of stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements.

In Arizona, the organizers of a legalization effort are petitioning the state Supreme Court to instruct the secretary of state to allow people to sign cannabis petitions digitally using an existing electronic system that is currently reserved for individual candidates seeking public office.

California activists for campaigns to amend the state’s legal cannabis program and legalize psilocybin mushrooms also asked for a digital petitioning option, though they haven’t taken court action.

Likewise in Washington, D.C., advocates for a measure to decriminalize psychedelics asked the mayor and local lawmakers to accept online signatures for their ballot petition.

Several other drug policy reform campaigns have been derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A campaign to legalize cannabis in Missouri officially gave up its effort for 2020 last month due to signature collection being virtually impossible in the face of social distancing measures.

An effort to legalize medical cannabis in Nebraska is also facing signature gathering challenges.

In Oregon, advocates for a measure to decriminalize drug possession and a separate initiative to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes have suspended in-person campaign events amid the pandemic.

Idaho medical cannabis activists announced that they are suspending their ballot campaign, though they are still “focusing on distributing petitions through online download at IdahoCann.co and encouraging every volunteer who has downloaded a petition to get them turned in to their county clerk’s office by mail, regardless of how many signatures they have collected.”

North Dakota advocates said that they are suspending their campaign to put marijuana legalization on the November ballot due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) conceded last month that the 2020 legalization push is “effectively over” in the legislature. Coronavirus shifted priorities, and comprehensive cannabis reform seems to have proved too complicated an issue in the short-term.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
The new law does not affect the purchase limits that restrict patients to buying no more than one ounce of marijuana per day and five ounces per month, although the daily limit is currently suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic.​
Dunno....this doesn't strike me as all that bad at all...over a 1/4 lb per month?

Montana Improves Access for Medical Marijuana Patients

Medical marijuana patients in Montana will gain improved access to their medicine under a state law that goes into effect next week. The measure, Senate Bill 265, eliminates a requirement under existing statute known as tethering that limits patients to using only one medicinal cannabis provider.
J.J. Thomas, the owner of The Higher Standard dispensaries in Helena, Missoula, Butte, and Dillon, told local media that the new law will give patients more choice when selecting their medicine.

“No one wants to eat at McDonald’s every day, over and over again, when a thousand different places make hamburgers,” he said. “It’s the same with medication or anything else: people want variety, they want to shop at different places, they want accessibility.”

SB 265 changes a requirement that patients use only one licensed provider to access their medicine. The law, which was passed by the state legislature last year, called for the requirement to be eliminated by June of this year. Last month, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services notified patients and providers that the change would go into effect on June 2.

Monthly Purchase Limit Still In Effect
The new law does not affect the purchase limits that restrict patients to buying no more than one ounce of marijuana per day and five ounces per month, although the daily limit is currently suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Erica Johnston, operations services branch manager for DPHHS, said implementing the necessary system upgrades had taken the agency some time.

“The biggest system challenge is getting that tracking in place that allows a provider to know how much a cardholder has purchased previous to walking in their door, without also giving that provider details of all the purchases that were made at other providers,” Johnston said. “So we want to help protect that privacy and still allow the providers the ability to check on the limits purchased.”

Medical marijuana patients are not required to make any changes and their existing identification cards will remain valid until they expire. Johnston said that she expects the change will make it easier for some patients to obtain their medicine.

“Obviously, these patients have developed relationships with their providers, and where those relationships are good, I don’t foresee those changing,” she said. “But it does allow people who are traveling, if they have to have an extended period of time where they’re spending time with family in another part of the state, they have the ability to access medicine if they need it.”

Thomas said that he believes the change is for the better.

“I truly believe that if you’ve been doing a great job all these years, and you’ve been taking care of people, there’s no reason people aren’t going to continue to shop you,” he said. “I feel like everyone’s going to be just fine, and it’s the best thing that could happen to the industry in a very long time.”
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Dunno....this doesn't strike me as all that bad at all...over a 1/4 lb per month?
While it seems excessive, I know quite a few people who consume an ounce a week. Most of them combust, however.

I don't understand why there should be limits at all. If a person wants to smoke/vape/ingest more than an ounce a week... that is their prerogative. They could be making themselves edibles (which takes quite a bit of flower) or tincture in conjunction with using it in other ways. It's not like we can't buy unlimited amounts of alcohol in a week. Or are limited in the amount of Tylenol we can buy in a certain amount of time.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
While it seems excessive,
Oh, I'm pretty sure I never said it was excessive......just the article seemed to imply that this limit needed changing as they commented that it hadn't been changed.

To me, 5 zips a month is not being parsimonious.


I don't understand why there should be limits at all.
Ah....maybe diversion?
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member
Montana Will Vote On Two Marijuana Legalization Measures In November, State Confirms

Montana’s secretary of state announced on Thursday that marijuana activists collected more than enough signatures to qualify two legalization measures for the November ballot.

One initiative, a statutory change, would create a system of legal cannabis access for adult-use. A separate constitutional amendment would ensure only those 21 and older can participate in the market.

If the statutory measure is approved by voters, possessing up to an ounce of cannabis would be allowed, and people could cultivate up to four plants and four seedlings at home.

The Montana Department of Revenue would be in charge of regulating the legal industry and would issue business licenses by January 1, 2022. Existing medical cannabis businesses would be first in line to enter the adult-use market.

There would be a 20 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana, while the tax on medical cannabis products would be reduced from two to one percent. Revenue from legal sales would go toward land, water and wildlife conservation programs, veteran services, substance misuse treatment, health care, local governments that allow cannabis businesses and the state general fund.

A fiscal note from the Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning estimates that legal cannabis retail taxes will generate $38.5 million a year by Fiscal Year 2025.

“Our research has always shown that a majority of Montanans support legalization, and now voters will have the opportunity to enact that policy, which will create jobs and generate new revenue for our state,” Pepper Petersen, a spokesperson for New Approach Montana, which organized the effort, said. “It also means that law enforcement will stop wasting time and resources arresting adults for personal marijuana possession, and instead focus on real crime.”

Under the separate amendment that also qualified for the ballot, the state constitution would be amended to clarify that a “person 18 years of age or older is an adult for all purposes, except that the legislature or the people by initiative may establish the legal age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing alcoholic beverages and marijuana.

Montana voters approved a medical cannabis legalization initiative in 2004 and later passed a 2016 expansion measure.

For the current cycle, New Approach Montana submitted their petitions for the cannabis measures in June. Last month, the group announced that data from county officials indicated they would make the ballot.

The secretary of state made that official on Thursday by updating the status of both submitted initiatives on its tracking page to say they have been “certified to appear on the November 3, 2020 General Election Ballot.”

The statutory measure required 25,468 valid signatures to qualify, while the constitutional amendment needed 50,936 valid signatures.

Activists navigated a difficult path to the ballot amid the coronavirus pandemic. After stay-at-home mandates made petitioning virtually impossible, they unsuccessfully sued for the right to collect signatures electronically and to extend the deadline for submissions. The campaign later relaunched physical canvassing efforts effort in May with social distancing protocols in place.

“This is great news for Montana voters who will now have the opportunity to enact a marijuana legalization policy that will create jobs, generate revenue and allow law enforcement to focus on real crime,” Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, which helped with the signature drive, said. “New Approach Montana’s signature drive was one of the most innovative ever seen, and its success is a testament to the strong existing support among Montana voters for marijuana policy reform.”

The Montana Democratic Party adopted a platform plank endorsing marijuana legalizationin June.

Here’s a status update on other 2020 drug policy reform campaigns across the country:

A marijuana legalization measure in Arizona qualified for the November ballot this week after activists submitted 420,000 signatures.

The Washington, D.C. Board of Elections certified last week that activists submitted enough valid signatures to place a measure to decriminalize plant- and fungi-based psychedelics in the nation’s capital.

Oregon’s secretary of state confirmed last month that separate measures to legalize psilocybin therapy and decriminalize possession of all drugs while expanding treatment services will appear on the November ballot.

Organizers in Nebraska last month submitted 182,000 signatures in an attempt to put a medical marijuana measure on November’s ballot.

Idaho activists behind a medical marijuana legalization initiative were hoping to get a second wind after a federal judge said recently that the state must make accommodations for a separate ballot campaign due to signature gathering complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic. But following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the other group last week, hopes are dashed.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and stay-at-home mandates, separate measures to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational purposes qualified for South Dakota’s November ballot.

The New Jersey legislature approved putting a cannabis legalization referendum before voters as well.

And in Mississippi, activists gathered enough signatures to qualify a medical cannabis legalization initiative for the ballot—though lawmakers also approved a competing (and from advocates’ standpoint, less desirable) medical marijuana proposal that will appear alongside the campaign-backed initiative.

A campaign to legalize cannabis in Missouri officially gave up its effort for 2020 due to signature collection being virtually impossible in the face of social distancing measures.

North Dakota marijuana legalization activists are shifting focus and will seek qualification for the 2022 ballot.

Washington State activists had planned to pursue a drug decriminalization and treatment measure through the ballot, but citing concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak, they announced last month that they will be targeting the legislature instead.

Read the Montana marijuana ballot initiatives by following title link and scrolling to the bottom of the article.
 

Baron23

Well-Known Member
"reduces the existing tax on medical cannabis from 1% to 2%. "

Fucking stoners! hahahaha


Montana Cannabis Legalization Initiatives Qualify For November Ballot



Two separate cannabis initiatives have qualified for the general election ballot in Montana, making it the sixth state in the nation that will be voting on a legalization measure in November. On Thursday, the office of Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton revealed that supporters for Initiative 190 and Constitutional Initiative 118 had collected enough signatures to qualify both measures for the ballot.
Initiative 190 would legalize the possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana for adult use and establish a regulatory system to license cannabis businesses. The measure also levies a tax of 20% on recreational marijuana and reduces the existing tax on medical cannabis from 1% to 2%. The initiative also authorizes the home cultivation of up to four mature cannabis plants and four seedlings.
Revenue from the tax on adult-use cannabis would be allocated to land, water, and wildlife conservation programs, veteran services, substance abuse treatment, long-term health care, and local governments. Proponents of the measure have estimated that it would raise $48 million in tax revenue by 2025.



Constitutional Initiative 118 would amend the Montana Constitution to allow the state legislature to set the legal age to make cannabis purchases at 21. Currently, the constitution grants all of the rights of an adult to all persons age 18 or older, except for the purchase of alcohol.
More Than Enough Signatures Collected
Petitions for both initiatives were circulated by New Approach Montana, which collected more than 130,000 signatures to put the measures on the ballot. To qualify, Initiative 190 needed approximately 25,000 verified signatures, while the constitutional initiative required about 50,000 signatures. The group reports that it spent approximately $2 million on its signature-gathering effort and other expenses related to qualifying the two initiatives for the ballot.
Pepper Petersen, a campaign spokesperson for the group, expressed optimism at the news that the legalization measures had qualified for the ballot.
“Our research has always shown that a majority of Montanans support legalization, and now voters will have the opportunity to enact that policy, which will create jobs and generate new revenue for our state,” said Petersen.
The announcement was also lauded by Matthew Schweich, the deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national group that backed the Montana ballot initiatives.
“This is great news for Montana voters who will now have the opportunity to enact a marijuana legalization policy that will create jobs, generate revenue and allow law enforcement to focus on real crime,” Schweich said in a press release.
Six States To Vote On Cannabis In November
Montana legalized the medicinal use of cannabis with the passage of a voter initiative in 2004, and in 2016 approved another measure expanding the program. With Thursday’s announcement, the state joins five other states that will vote on cannabis legalization ballot measures, according to information from the Marijuana Policy Project.
In addition to the Treasure State, voters in Arizona and New Jersey will vote on legalizing cannabis for use by adults. In Mississippi and Nebraska, ballots will include measures to legalize medical marijuana, while South Dakota voters will see separate initiatives to legalize both medicinal and recreational cannabis.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Anti-Marijuana Activist Pushes To Reveal Montana Legalization Campaign’s Funding Sources


Anti-marijuana activist and Billings auto dealership owner Steve Zabawa filed a complaint Thursday with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices demanding that a 501(c)(4) nonprofit group called North Fund be required to disclose its donors. North Fund, a nonprofit registered in Washington, D.C., has given nearly $5 million to New Approach Montana, the political committee that organized the upcoming vote to legalize recreational marijuana in the state on the 2020 ballot.

Zabawa’s complaint comes on the heels of Commissioner of Political Practices Jeff Mangan’s own request that North Fund reveal its funders. On September 11, Mangan determined that North Fund is not an “incidental committee”—a category that is not required to disclose its donors—but an “independent committee,” which by state law must be transparent about where its money comes from. Zabawa, who heads a group called Wrong for Montana that opposes the recreational marijuana initiative, makes the same claim in his complaint, calling North Fund “nothing more than a slush fund funneling millions of dollars into Montana and other states attempting to buy ballot issue elections.”

As his own deliberations have been superseded by an official complaint, Mangan could not comment specifically on the issue.

“The question comes down to what’s the primary purpose of this business,” Mangan said of North Fund, “and the complaint just moves it to a whole different level.”

Mangan previously gave North Fund until September 30 to reveal its donors or appeal his decision. On September 30, the group requested an appeal without disclosing its funders. In a letter prepared by two attorneys, North Fund claims it should not be reclassified as an independent committee, on the basis that, according to Montana’s 2015 anti-dark money Disclose Act, it has only incidentally supported marijuana legalization in Montana, with the majority of the group’s spending being done on other issues in other states.

North Fund’s appeal references a similar COPP complaint that Zabawa filed in 2016 against the Montana Cannabis Industry Association. That complaint claimed that MTCIA purposely obscured its funding sources in violation of state campaign finance law. Then-Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl ruled against Zabawa, determining that MTCIA was in fact an incidental committee and not required to disclose its donors.

One of the two lawyers who wrote North Fund’s September 30 reply to Mangan works for large national litigation firm Nossaman LLP. The other attorney is Jim Molloy, a former senior policy adviser to Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and a co-author of Montana’s 2015 Disclose Act, which regulates disclosure of the sources of money spent on state political campaigns. Molloy also represented New Approach Montana in an unsuccessful lawsuit against the state earlier this year that sought to allow the group to gather ballot-qualifying signatures electronically in light of signature-gathering restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. New Approach Montana Political Director Pepper Petersen said at the time that Molloy was hired to help draft the group’s ballot initiatives due to his expertise in Montana constitutional law.

As assistant attorney general, Molloy defended Montana’s 2011 legislative ban on the sale of medical marijuana against a lawsuit by the MTCIA. The ban was overturned, but the courts later allowed a three-patient limit for medical marijuana providers to become law in 2016, effectively repealing the state’s medical marijuana program. Molloy returned to private practice earlier that year.

Petersen said in a statement Thursday that New Approach Montana is aware of the complaint against North Fund, and that any questions regarding the group should be directed to its spokesperson. Asked to clarify the relationship between New Approach Montana and North Fund, considering that they share an attorney, Petersen said, “North Fund is a donor to our effort and we’re grateful for their support.”

North Fund spokesperson Naomi Seligman said Thursday that the group is reviewing Mangan’s deliberation and Zabawa’s complaint.
 

VaporizerWizard

Stage 4 VAS
I am a MMJ patient in Montana so this is extra relevant to me. So far there has been very minimal polling but the one poll I did see shows that this has a decent chance of passing. Overall its sort of a recreational light approach, with lowish limits on plant numbers and dried cannabis allowed, but it will reduce the taxes on the MMJ side slightly and it should still be a huge step forward in the right direction. Keep your fingers crossed and make sure you get out and vote!
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Montana Voters Poised To Legalize Marijuana, New Poll Shows


Montana voters seem poised to approve a pair of marijuana legalization initiatives next month, according to a new poll.

Asked about legal cannabis measures that will appear on their ballots, 49 percent of likely voters said they will vote for the reform while 39 percent said they would oppose it. What remains to be seen is where the remaining 10 percent of undecided voters will land on the question. (An additional two percent of respondents said they will skip the cannabis measures when voting.)

The survey asked a simplified version of what voters will see on Election Day. Rather than ask about both measures—one statutory proposal to legalize and a separate constitutional amendment to codify that only those 21 and older can access the market—the question reads: “The state ballot will ask about legalizing recreational marijuana in Montana. Will you vote to support or oppose legalization?”

As is typical with cannabis polling, more Democrats (70 percent) are in favor of the policy change compared to Republicans (27 percent). Fifty-nine percent of independents said they favor legalization.

Screen-Shot-2020-10-14-at-9.01.01-AM.png


The results also show that legalization is supported by most age groups, except those 60 and over, with voters aged 18 to 29 backing it by a near than three-to-one margin.

Screen-Shot-2020-10-14-at-9.01.07-AM.png


“The fate of marijuana legalization comes down to three factors: how the ‘don’t know’ respondents split, independent voters, and the presence of younger voters at the polls,” analysts at Montana State University (MSU) said. “Right now, 49 percent of respondents overall indicate they will vote to legalize—a 10-point lead over those indicating they will not.”

That said, the pro-legalization side has its work cut out to win over those voters who are still undecided by the time Election Day rolls around.

“Typically, the status quo position is advantaged in referendums, which would be no legalization,” they said. “With a high voter turnout, Montana will likely legalize marijuana, assuming voters understand that both initiatives must pass and vote accordingly.”

The analysis also noted that the legalization initiatives could attract younger voters to the polls, which could benefit Democratic candidates who also appear on the ballot.

“I think it is important to think about a ballot as a complete organic entity,” David Parker, a political science professor at MSU, said. “Young voters strongly are in favor of the measure, and they tend to be Democratic leaning.”

The poll—which involved responses from 1,787 Montanans from September 14 to October 2—is a good sign for New Approach Montana, the campaign behind the reform measures. But it also underscores the need to maintain their current support while convincing at least some of those outstanding undecided voters to get on board.

The survey also asked about gubernatorial, Senate and House races in the state, as well as the presidential campaign, and MSU said that of all the ballot-related questions in the poll, the response to the cannabis question was the only one outside the +/-3.9 percentage point margin of error.

For residents who value environmental conservationism, a recent endorsement of the legalization initiatives by a coalition of groups committed to that issue could be a motivating factor.

The state—widely known for its public lands and parks that attract tourists from across the country—would see a significant influx of revenue for environmental conservation programs from cannabis taxes if the legalization measure passes in November. Half of the public revenue from marijuana sales would be earmarked for such purposes.

If the statutory measure is approved by voters, possessing up to an ounce of cannabis would be allowed, and people could cultivate up to four plants and four seedlings at home.

The Montana Department of Revenue would be in charge of regulating the legal industry and would issue business licenses by January 1, 2022. Existing medical cannabis businesses would be first in line to enter the adult-use market.

There would be a 20 percent sales tax on recreational marijuana, while the tax on medical cannabis products would be reduced from two to one percent. Besides public lands funding, those tax dollars would also go toward veteran services, substance misuse treatment, health care, local governments that allow cannabis businesses and the state general fund.

Montana voters approved a medical cannabis legalization initiative in 2004 and later passed a 2016 expansion measure.

For the current cycle, New Approach Montana submitted their petitions for the cannabis initiatives in June. That came after they initially suspended signature gathering activities amidst the coronavirus pandemic, which they later relaunched with social distancing measures in place.

In July, the group announced that data from county officials indicated they would make the ballot. And in August, state officials officially qualified the measures.

The Montana Democratic Party adopted a platform plank endorsing marijuana legalization in June.
 

momofthegoons

Vapor Accessory Addict
Staff member

Montana Marijuana Legalization Initiative Faces Last-Minute Legal Challenge In State Supreme Court


A campaign to legalize marijuana in Montana is facing a last-minute legal challenge, even as residents are already participating in early in-person voting and submitting mail-in ballots that feature a pair of cannabis reform initiatives.

Prohibitionists have retained a law firm that’s preparing a lawsuit to be filed before the state Supreme Court against the statutory adult-use legalization measure, arguing that it violates state law by including provisions that would appropriate funds to specific programs. But New Approach Montana, the group behind the initiative, says their opponents “are simply trying to cause confusion.”

The proposal in question would establish a legal cannabis market for adults in the state, while a separate constitutional amendment that’s also on the ballot would stipulate that only those 21 and older could enter the market. Only the former measure is being targeted by the soon-to-be-filed case.

“We have prepared this lawsuit and we are in the process of filing it,” Steve Zabawa of Wrong for Montana said during a press call, KGVO reported. “Brian Thompson at BKBH is our attorney, and we’re going to ask that the Supreme Court of Montana remove this thing because it is a flawed initiative.”

He cited Article III, Section IV of the state constitution, which says citizens “may enact laws by initiative on all matters except appropriations of money and local or special laws.”

Under the legalization initiative, half of the public revenue generated from marijuana sales would go toward environmental conservation programs—a provision that earned the campaign key endorsements last month.

For what it’s worth, a 2018 ballot measure that made it on the ballot but was rejected by voters would have increased tobacco taxes and used revenue to fund health programs. But after opponents sent a letter to the secretary of state arguing that it was unconstitutional based on the same appropriations statute, the official said he would not be removing it. The issue did not reach the courts, however.

“I hope next week that the Montana Supreme Court sets a date to hear it and gets it out to their seven justices and then they come to they read through it and then do their research and then throw the initiative off the ballot,” Zabawa told the radio station. “That’s best case for us.”

Of course, the initiative is already on the ballot and voting has started, so presumably if the court sided with the plaintiffs, the votes simply wouldn’t be counted or implementation would be prevented. It is also possible that the court could rule that monies raised by legal cannabis sales under the initiative would simply into the state’s general fund instead of toward the specific programs delineated in its current text.

In addition to the cannabis revenue earmarked for land, water and wildlife conservation programs, the proposal aims to send funds toward veteran services, substance misuse treatment, health care and local governments, with the rest already being pegged to the general fund.

Zabawa, of Wrong for Montana, also recently filed a complaint with state regulators asking that a nonprofit organization that contributed to the legalization campaign be forced to disclose its donors.

Pepper Peterson of New Approach Montana told Marijuana Moment that the “people of Montana will see right through [the lawsuit], as they continue to vote Yes on CI-118 and I-190.”

“They know that legalizing marijuana for adults 21 and over will generate $236 million in new revenue over the next six years, expand access to medical marijuana for patients including veterans, and stop wasting law enforcement time and resources arresting Montanans for marijuana possession,” he said. “These initiatives, which were filed in January, have already been vetted and approved by the Montana attorney general. They are well written and closely follow existing Montana law.”

“The opposition campaign has been spreading misinformation across Montana for weeks, and this lawsuit announcement is just the latest chapter,” he said.

Thompson, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, told Marijuana Moment in a brief phone interview that the complaint would be filed “in the near future,” though he declined to give an exact timeline or share a copy of the draft filing.

If the challenge goes through and the legalization initiative is invalidated, that would mark the second time this election cycle that citizen-led reform efforts have been killed by the courts.

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled last month that a measure to legalize medical cannabis that had qualified for the November ballot could not proceed because it violated the state’s single-subject rule for ballot initiatives.

Should the Montana campaign prevail against the legal challenge, however, recent polling indicates that voters are positioned to approve it. Forty-nine percent of respondents in a survey released this week said they support the policy change, with 39 percent opposed and 10 percent remaining undecided.
 

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