BBER, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, CI-118, COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Fred Barkey, economic benefits, economic challenges, economy, I-190, legalization, Montana, MT, New Approach Montana, new revenue, report, Research, study, Tax and Regulate, tourists, University of Montana
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Great news! Earlier today, the Montana Secretary of State announced that CI-118 and I-190, the two initiatives supported by New Approach Montana to legalize marijuana for adults, received enough signatures to appear on the ballot this fall.
When the pandemic hit earlier this year, some feared it would mean the end of this campaign. But the team persevered and overcame tremendous obstacles. Voters will now have the opportunity to enact a marijuana legalization policy that will create jobs, generate revenue, and allow law enforcement to focus on real crime.
Unfortunately, due to the challenges faced during the signature drive that significantly drove up costs, the campaign is behind in its fundraising goals.
We need to make sure our friends at New Approach Montana have enough resources to compete with an onslaught of negative messaging from opponents. Will you make a contribution right now to make sure the campaign has the resources it needs to win?
You can also help by talking with friends and family about the importance of passing both initiatives, following New Approach Montana on Facebook, and signing up to volunteer!
Election Day is less than 12 weeks away, and early voting starts soon. Be part of this important effort to overturn the failed policy of marijuana prohibition in Montana.
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On Friday, July 17, we got an exciting update out of Big Sky Country: according to numbers tallied by local officials, BOTH legalization initiatives have received enough signatures to qualify for the statewide ballot this fall!
That’s really good news. But leaders of the campaign are nervous about the potential emergence of a well-financed opposition effort assisted by groups like SAM.
Winning in Montana is not going to be easy, and due to the challenges the campaign faced in the signature drive, they were forced to spend far more than they planned. And now, they’re behind their fundraising goals.
Will you help give New Approach Montana the resources they need to continue building support for legalization and defeat the prohibitionists this fall? Any amount you can give will make a difference.
Donate directly to the Montana 2020 legalization campaign:
Now’s a critical time to throw your support behind this important campaign.
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Last Friday, New Approach Montana, a Helena-based marijuana reform campaign, submitted over 130,000 signatures from counties across the state in order to qualify two complementary marijuana legalization initiatives for the November 2020 ballot. Despite the severe impact of COVID-19, the campaign was able to reach its goals in time for the signature submission deadline.
The campaign submitted over 52,000 signatures in support of I-190, a statutory initiative that would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in Montana, and over 80,000 signatures in support of CI-118, a constitutional initiative that would set the legal minimum age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana at 21. Those numbers far exceed the minimum requirements of 25,468 and 50,936, respectively.
The Governor’s Budget Office estimates that marijuana tax revenue will reach $48 million per year by 2025 under New Approach Montana’s plan to legalize and tax adult use marijuana at 20%.
Stay tuned for further developments, and visit the campaign's website for more information.
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Because COVID-19 caused major delays in the signature-gathering drive, New Approach Montana — the campaign working to pass two complementary ballot initiatives to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older in Montana — is in a race against time to qualify the constitutional initiative for the November ballot!
The constitutional measure (CI 118), which would allow the minimum legal age for marijuana to be set at 21, needs just over 50,000 valid signatures to qualify. The statutory measure (SI 190), which would establish a system to regulate and tax marijuana for adults’ use and requires half the number of signatures as required for the constitutional initiative, already has enough signatures to qualify.
While the statutory measure is the actual legalization policy, the constitutional measure sets the legal age at 21. Since voters prefer 21 as the minimum legal age, the campaign must qualify both measures to maximize the chances of victory this November. If CI 118 does not pass, it is very likely that marijuana sales would be delayed by two years.
Due to signature-gathering challenges caused by the pandemic, the campaign has made it easy to add your signature to the petition effort. If you are a Montana voter, you can download this four-page document, print, sign, and mail it in to the campaign.
The campaign also has petition circulators on the ground, who are following strict health and safety protocols to reduce the risk of spreading COVID.
MPP staff member and Montana resident Chris Lindsey (right) helping gather signatures.
Please help us spread the word by sharing this petition link with friends and family in Montana today!
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Sign your petitions from home to ensure legalization is on the November ballot!
New Approach Montana is pulling out all the stops to get the signatures it needs to qualify adult-use legalization for Montana’s November ballot.
Despite getting a late start due to the health crisis sweeping the nation, the campaign launched its signature drive on May 9, instituting a comprehensive set of public health protocols to limit contact between circulators and petition signers. And, earlier this week, the campaign released a new website that allows Montana voters to sign petition documents from home! Follow the link below to download and print using your printer or to request that the campaign mail your petitions.
The campaign’s new website allows Montana residents to choose between two options to sign petition documents remotely. Voters can request a mailed packet that includes instructions, printed petition documents to sign, and a pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope to return the signed documents to the campaign. The other option allows voters to print the documents at home, sign, and return them by mail.
It has never been easier to sign a ballot initiative petition in Montana. If you have any questions, just email the campaign at firstname.lastname@example.org. And of course, if you prefer to sign in person, you can find a map of signing locations here.
Every signature counts, and we’re asking all Montanans to take just a few minutes to print and sign these petitions. Please also spread the word about this unique petition-signing opportunity to your friends, family, and neighbors around the state. Just a few signatures could determine the fate of ending marijuana prohibition in Montana this year.
Thank you in advance for assisting this important campaign.
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On account of the COVID-19 pandemic, many campaigns have had to throw in the towel on qualifying state initiatives for the ballot this election cycle — but not New Approach Montana. Instead, the campaign, which MPP is helping to lead, has come up with innovative approaches for collecting signatures as it races against a deadline to qualify for the 2020 ballot.
This includes a new opportunity for Montana voters: signing the petitions from home. Use the link below to download and print using your printer or to request that the campaign mail your petitions.
The campaign’s new website allows Montana residents to choose between two options to sign petition documents remotely. Voters can request a mailed packet that includes instructions, printed petition documents to sign, and a pre-addressed, pre-paid envelope to return the signed documents to the campaign. The other option allows voters to print the documents at home, sign, and return them by mail. It has never been easier to sign a ballot initiative petition in Montana. If you have any questions, just email the campaign at email@example.com.
But New Approach Montana needs your help to spread the word. We're requesting that you forward this email to anyone you know in Montana. Given the delay to the start of the signature drive, each signature could be the difference between qualification or failure.
Thank you in advance for assisting this important campaign.
ballot initiatives, campaign, CI-118, I-190, Joan Miles, marijuana legalization, marijuana legalization ballot initiatives, Matthew Schweich, Montana, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, MT, New Approach Montana, November 2020 ballot, public health, public health protocols, signature drive, Tax and Regulate
New Approach Montana, the political campaign working to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in the state, announced the launch of a statewide signature drive starting this Saturday in support of two complementary marijuana legalization ballot initiatives.
“The ballot initiative process is an integral component of democracy for half of all the states,” said Matthew Schweich, director of state campaigns for the Marijuana Policy Project, which is supporting the campaign. “Campaigns across the country did the responsible thing by delaying and pausing signature drives earlier this year. But the economy is reopening, and now we have the opportunity to responsibly resume our efforts and give voters the opportunity to make important policy decisions at the ballot box this November,” Schweich continued.
The campaign is instituting a set of public health protocols to limit contact between circulators and petition signers, including wearing masks, providing single-use pens and gloves, supplying disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, and maintaining the six-foot distance requirement, among other measures. Joan Miles, a public health professional who served as the director of the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services under former Gov. Brian Schweitzer, reviewed the protocols and endorsed the campaign’s plan.
New Approach Montana is supporting two ballot initiatives this year. The first, I-190, is a statutory initiative that would legalize marijuana in Montana for adults and establish a regulatory framework for cultivation and sales. The second, CI-118, is a constitutional initiative that would set the legal minimum age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana at 21.
To qualify for the November 2020 ballot, the campaign must gather 25,468 signatures for I-190 and 50,936 signatures for CI-118. Under state law, all signatures must be submitted to county clerks by June 19.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of our lives, including our democratic institutions and processes. Traditional methods of gathering voter signatures for ballot petitions are unsafe, and as a result, ballot initiative campaigns have been forced to search for alternative ways to meet petition gathering requirements without jeopardizing public health.
New Approach Montana, which is working to put two marijuana legalization initiatives on the November ballot, recently filed a lawsuit seeking a legal remedy that would allow the campaign to gather signatures through a secure, online system.
The right of Montanans to petition their government and enact laws approved by voters is enshrined in the state constitution. The campaign is hopeful that state courts will agree that electronic signatures are the best way to protect both the safety of Montana residents as well as their democratic right to self-governance.
We will continue to provide updates as the situation develops. We hope you and your family remain safe and healthy during these difficult times.
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Secretary of State and Attorney General must review the proposed initiatives before signature collecting can begin
New Approach Montana, a statewide political campaign working to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana, today submitted two complementary 2020 ballot initiatives to the state government for review. The first is a statutory initiative that would legalize marijuana in Montana for adults aged 21 and over and establish a regulatory framework for cultivation and sales. The second is a constitutional amendment that would allow the legal minimum age for marijuana consumption to be 21.
“Montanans support legalizing marijuana and setting the minimum age at 21,” said Pepper Petersen, spokesperson for New Approach Montana. “Our initiatives will give voters the opportunity to approve those laws at the ballot box on Election Day. It’s time for Montana to stop wasting law enforcement resources that could be spent fighting more serious crime. We can shift marijuana out of the illicit market and into licensed, regulated, and tax-paying businesses. At the same time, we can create jobs and generate significant new revenue for the state.”
The initiatives were hand-delivered to the Secretary of State and the Legislative Services Division today, starting a review process that will also involve the Attorney General and the Governor’s budget director.
New Approach Montana is sponsoring both initiatives, which were were drafted with the assistance of Montana voters, stakeholders, and policy experts.
“These initiatives are the result of a collaborative and diligent drafting process,” said Petersen. “We held seven community listening sessions across the state and received input from hundreds of Montana voters. We’ve spoken with community, church, and tribal leaders. Montana lawyers with experience in ballot initiative drafting and litigation have carefully vetted the details. We’ve received input from Montanans with expertise on our state’s existing medical marijuana program, civil rights, and fiscal policy. We have covered every base.”
The statutory initiative establishes a legalization policy that builds upon Montana’s existing medical marijuana framework.
“It was important to us that Montana entrepreneurs and businesses would be in a strong position to compete in the legalization market, and our initiative ensures that will be the case,” said Petersen. “We have every confidence that this uniquely Montanan approach to marijuana legalization, regulation, and taxation will gain widespread support at the ballot box in November.”
After the Attorney General has approved the final petitions, New Approach Montana must gather 25,468 signatures to qualify the statutory initiative for the 2020 ballot and 50,936 signatures to qualify the constitutional initiative.
New Approach Montana determined that it was necessary to amend the state constitution if Montana was going to follow the example of every other legal state by restricting marijuana to those 21 years and older.
“There is strong precedent for changing the Montana constitution to restrict marijuana to those 21 years and older,” said Petersen. “As a state, we amended the constitution in 1986 to allow the legislature to restrict alcohol sales to those 21 and over. Our 2020 constitutional amendment adds just two words to existing constitutional language that addresses alcohol, so that marijuana can be age-restricted in the same manner.”
The statutory initiative allows possession of up to an ounce by adults aged 21 and older, establishes the Montana Department of Revenue as the regulatory agency, gives Montana medical marijuana providers first entry into the expanded marijuana market, and reduces the tax on medical marijuana from two percent to one percent.
The initiative sets a 20% sales tax on marijuana (this would not apply to medical marijuana) and allocates the tax revenue to land, water, and wildlife conservation programs, veteran services, substance abuse treatment, long-term health care, local governments where marijuana is sold, and general revenue for the state.
“Our campaign’s initial analysis found that a 20% marijuana sales tax would generate over $37 million per year in new revenue by 2025,” Peterson said.
More information, including the full texts of the initiatives, can be found at: www.newapproachmt.org.