Montana does not yet enjoy legal recreational weed, but they have had medicinal cannabis for some time. Although citizens of Montana are pro-legalization, the possession laws are currently some of the strictest in the US. However, it is starting to look like everything could change for the state in the not too distant future. That is if the pandemic doesn’t destroy the publics chance to vote. The changes in the legality of medicinal weed over the last decade or so has laid the path for recreational laws to evolve. There are those who are trying to fight for the publics right to vote, even during the lockdown.
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Recreational Cannabis Laws In Montana
The current cannabis laws are extremely strict, with the smallest possession potentially leading to jail. Even though possession of 60g or less for a first and second offense wouldn’t necessarily be a felony, it may still result in a $500 – $1,000 fine and 6 months to 3 years on the inside. For more than 60 grams someone could be facing up to 5 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
If a person is found intending to sell, it doesn’t matter the amount found, they could be in for 20 years in prison along with the $50,000 fine. Being caught selling could result in life in prison, regardless of the amount. These are definitely some extremely strict cannabis laws, especially for a state that allows medicinal weed, and has such a positive public opinion.
Medicinal Cannabis Laws
Montana first legalized medicinal weed in 2004, and since then the laws have been constantly changing as a result of a series of legal battles. In 2016 there was an expansion added to the law which included a wider range of qualifying medical conditions. PTSD is now on the list, and in the same year, new legislation was brought in to ensure the safety of medicinal products being sold. There are several different conditions included now under “debilitating medical conditions” such as cancer, wasting disorders, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, severe chronic pain and central nervous disorders.
Patients who do not have a designated cannabis provider may grow up to four plants and have an ounce of cannabis in their possession at one time. However, for cardholders who do have a supplier, cultivation is still illegal. As of 2017, two medicinal users living together with no supplier are allowed to cultivate four plants each. As the years go on the cannabis laws are constantly changing to provide better access to medicinal users.
The Push For The Legalization Vote
This year, 2020, in amongst all of the bizarreness and confusion there are still groups pushing for the recreational legalization. A statewide campaign was started earlier this year, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the activists involved have struggled to gather the necessary signatures. The group has taken legal action against the state to attempt to legally gather signatures online rather than in person.
The idea behind the movement is to legalize and regulate cannabis, allowing the supply of recreational cannabis to people who are 21 or over. The movement needs 50,936 signatures, but it is difficult to collect so many when stay at home orders are in effect. This movement would also reduce the tax on medicinal cannabis and would instead impose a 20% tax on recreational marijuana. It is thought that allowing a legal weed market for Montana could produce over $37m a year in tax revenue by 2025. Currently, the activist group behind the push for online signatures is also asking for an extension to the deadline, to ensure that all Montana residents have the chance to vote. Here’s hoping that they get it, and Montana gets legal weed.