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Montana Adult-Use Cannabis Sales Set to Begin in January 2022

Only existing cannabis providers are permitted to participate in recreational sales for the first 18 months.

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May 21, 2021

Adult-use cannabis is making its way to Montana after Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a cannabis legalization implementation bill into law on May 18.

The legislation, House Bill 701, will implement and regulate an adult-use cannabis program in the state; however, the legislation makes several changes to the initial measure, Initiative 90 (I-90), which voters approved by a considerable amount in the 2020 election, as previously reported by Cannabis Business Times.

Under H.B. 701, recreational sales are set to begin Jan. 1 2022, for adults 21 years and older, but only existing cannabis providers can opt into the market for the first 18 months, as Cannabis Business Times previously reported.

Some of the modifications H.B. 701 makes to I-90 include pushing back the deadline for recreational sales to begin from Oct 1. 2021 to Jan. 1 2022, imposing new restrictions on the quantity of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content permitted in retail products, and reducing the number of cannabis plants adults can cultivate for personal use from four to two plants; however, householders with more than one adult can grow double that amount without penalty, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) reported.

Under H.B. 701, the THC content in cannabis flower is limited to 35%, edibles are restricted to 100mg per package, and all other concentrated products are capped at 800mg, NORML reported.

Cannabis retailers are not permitted to operate in Montana counties or cities where most voters voted against I-90 unless the county or city holds an additional election is held to opt into the market. And counties or cities that can participate in recreational sales have the option to either "opt-in" or "opt-out" of allowing cannabis businesses through a vote, the reform organization reported.

Furthermore, retail sales will be subject to a 20% excise tax, and local communities can impose an additional 3% tax, according to NORML.

The state will put most of the tax revenue from cannabis sales into Gianforte's "HEART Fund" account for mental health and substance abuse treatment, Cannabis Business Times previously reported.

"Since January, we've been focused on implementing the will of Montana voters in a safe, responsible and appropriately regulated manner. House Bill 701 accomplishes this," said Gianforte in a statement shared with Newsweek.

"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," he said. "Funding a full continuum of substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for communities, the HEART Fund will offer new support to Montanans who want to get clean, sober and healthy."