Montana Legalizes Marijuana

After voting to legalize recreational cannabis use in November, Montana has now established a legal framework to sell and possess marijuana in the state.

On the 5th of November 2020, Montana, New Jersey, South DakotaArizona, and Mississipi all voted to legalize marijuana use, either for recreational or medical purposes.

This week, Montana Governor, Greg Gianforte, signed two bills into law in order to develop the recreational cannabis market that was approved in November, one of which allows for the sale of marijuana, and the other which allows for the possession of marijuana.

Sales of recreational marijuana will come with a 20 percent tax, with revenues going toward substance abuse and treatment programs under Montana's Healing and Ending Addiction through Recovery and Treatment (HEART) Program.

"From the start, I've been clear that we need to bring more resources to bear to combat the drug epidemic that's devastating our communities," Gianforte said in his statement. "Funding a full continuum of substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for communities, the HEART Fund will offer new supports to Montanans who want to get clean, sober, and healthy."

A drug court will also be established to oversee the potential expungement of marijuana-related convictions, given that the possession of the plant will no longer be illegal. Efforts to expunge those with marijuana records have been growing in states that have legalized cannabis, such as New York.

The new cannabis laws will also protect employees from their off-duty cannabis consumption, though employers are still allowed to prohibit cannabis use during work hours. Moreover, employers may take action against employees for their off-duty cannabis use if their consumption of cannabis begins to negatively impact their working capacity. Though for job applicants, employers may not reject their application if they test positive for marijuana.

Driving under the influence of cannabis will also remain prohibited within Montana.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.