As I wrap up this series of articles on the marijuana bill-HB 701 I will mention a couple of other bills that were brought forward in the process but did not make the final cut to become law. Please understand that all the elements of this bill are subject to change by the subsequent legislatures and probably will be changed. This was a big undertaking by the legislature since we had no Montana history to use as a base.
HB 701 includes the same implied consent aspect currently on the books for alcohol. Failure to comply with a lawful request by a law enforcement personnel will result in loss of your driver’s license and other possible losses. There is equipment available to them to test for under the influence drivers and it will be enforced.
A lot of discussion was had concerning local option taxes on marijuana including what percentage of the sales price would be allowed. In the final bill a local options tax of 3% was arrived at through a compromise with those wanting 5% and those wanting no taxes. The tax is not automatic and must be voted on by the citizens of the jurisdiction. Remember, if a jurisdiction did not vote for legalization of adult use marijuana an election must be held to allow for the sale in that jurisdiction.
An adult use marijuana business cannot be sold to anyone who hasn’t had the necessary background check and has been approved by the Department of Justice. Purchase of new licenses would be required if a business changes hand as well.
Two other bills were a focus of discussion on marijuana. HB 707 by Representative Tschida and HB 670 by Representative Skees. Neither bill was as detailed as the final bill but had their own points to consider. The one factor I found to be a good idea was in HB 670 where a trust account was set up to put any income from the taxation and licensing of marijuana for a period of two years. The reason I felt it was worth considering is because we really don’t know the level of revenue and as such we should not be appropriating the money until we have that knowledge. Even though the final bill limits the spending to available funds it just makes sense to me to have a better handle on revenue before we spend it.
As you can see, this issue consumed a lot of legislator’s time and will do so in the future legislatures as well. I-190 was passed by the voters so it would become law as passed if changes were not made, especially to the appropriation of funds since that is reserves to the legislature by the constitution of Montana. Consideration was given to the uses detailed in the initiative but much more detail for implementation was included in the final bill.
If there are any other bills you would like more detail about, please contact me at Ken.firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be covering a couple of other major bills in the weeks to come but surely would like your input on bills you want more information.