Group proposing a marijuana ballot initiative

HELENA - Pro-cannabis group Coalition406 is inviting Montanans to weigh in on a recreational marijuana proposal. The group is hosting a listening tour in advance of creating a 2020 state ballot initiative.

According to the Montana Coalition, marijuana tax revenue can add $100 million in new taxes to the Montana state budget.

The coalition says the tax revenue could be spent on healthcare, education and infrastructure.

A bill to legalize recreation marijuana did not make it out of committee earlier this year in the legislative session, but the coalition is trying a different approach to get this on the ballot in 2020, according to Pepper Petersen, the Director of Coalition406. 

“In the past we’ve seen the initiative process go forward to where we just see it when it’s time to vote on it, and after the Secretary of State has written this long explanation of what it’s supposed to be," Petersen says.

Petersen says the idea of the listening tour is to build a proposal that Montanans can support. Medical marijuana is legal in Montana, but recreational initiatives have failed.

"Rather than depending on what somebody else says about it, we are giving Montanans the opportunity to come and put their personal stamp on it early in the process before we even submit it to the Secretary of State for review. And that way, the concerns that people have can be met early on rather than after this process is over.” 

Caolition406 is trying to create a system unique to Montana for legal marijuana. They are seeking public opinion to further refine the proposal to help shape the law to get it on the ballot.   

They will need 25,500 signatures for the initiative to be on the ballot in 2020.

You can help give your opinion at the first listening tour event in Helena on May 2nd at the Lewis and Clark Library, and you can find out more information about the coalition and where the listening tour will be stopping next by clicking here. You can also follow Coalition 406 on Facebook and Twitter. 

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