Tax and Regulate

New Approach Montana Submits 2020 Marijuana Legalization Ballot Initiatives for State Review

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.

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Tax and Regulate

North Dakota could see legalization on the ballot again in 2020

Last week, Legalize ND submitted petition language to put an initiative to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana before the voters next November. Once the measure is approved for circulation by the secretary of state, activists must gather 13,452 voter signatures before July 6, 2020 to qualify for the ballot.

In 2018, North Dakotans rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana for adults 59% to 41%. This time around, however, Legalize ND worked closely with the North Dakota Legislative Council and argues the proposal is better written and addresses previous concerns. The 2020 measure would create a system to license marijuana businesses, establish a 10% tax on marijuana sales, and prohibit home cultivation. The initiative would also allow individuals to remove low-level marijuana convictions from their criminal records.

2020 is shaping up to be another big year for marijuana policy reform. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Check out the campaign’s website to get involved and support the effort to end marijuana prohibition in North Dakota!

Thank you.

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Tax and Regulate

MPP endorses Arkansas ballot effort to legalize marijuana and pass expungement

Next year, Arkansas could make history and become the first southern state to end marijuana prohibition and wipe the slate clean for people with criminal records for marijuana convictions. 

The Marijuana Policy Project has endorsed two constitutional ballot initiatives being spearheaded by Arkansans for Cannabis Reform. The first would establish a system to legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older. The second would create a pathway for individuals to remove previous marijuana offenses from their criminal records, making it easier for them to get jobs and access social benefits. 

Each petition requires just over 89,000 voter signatures, and the campaign has established signing locations all over the state. Now is a critical time, and they are looking for supporters to get involved and expand their effort.

A victory in Arkansas would send a shockwave through the country. A clear majority of voters stand with us in our mission to end marijuana prohibition. But it takes hard-working teams like Arkansans for Cannabis Reform to give voters an opportunity to enact the change they want. 

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Medical Marijuana||Tax and Regulate

South Dakota kicks off petition drive to legalize marijuana!

Exciting news! A newly formed political campaign, South Dakotans for Better Marijuana Laws, has launched an effort to pass two marijuana reform ballot initiatives in South Dakota next year.

Yes, you read that right: South Dakota.

The first ballot initiative, a proposed constitutional amendment, would legalize and regulate marijuana for adults 21 and older and direct the legislature to enact laws regulating the cultivation and sale of hemp. The second ballot initiative, a proposed statutory amendment, would establish a medical marijuana law for qualifying patients.

The 2020 campaign, supported by MPP, must collect 33,921 signatures from voters by November 3 of this year to qualify the constitutional initiative for the 2020 ballot. The statutory initiative will require 16,961 voter signatures to qualify. 


Leading politicians in the state have consistently opposed marijuana policy reform, and Gov. Kristi Noem even opposes the legalization of industrial hemp. This campaign will give the voters of South Dakota the opportunity to decide these issues at the ballot box.

We will keep you informed of major developments. You also can follow the campaign and support them by signing up for email alerts on their website.

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Medical Marijuana

Idaho: Help medical marijuana qualify for the ballot!

Email idahocannabiscoalition@gmail.com or call (844) 432-4620 to become a signature gatherer!

The Idaho Cannabis Coalition, which filed a petition to legalize medical marijuana, has launched its campaign. They are working hard to collect signatures from voters all over the state, and you can help!

Get plugged into the campaign and become a volunteer signature gatherer by emailing idahocannabiscoalition@gmail.com or calling (844) 432-4620.

In order to qualify for the 2020 ballot, the petition needs just over 55,000 voter signatures from 18 of 35 legislative districts by April 30 next year. It's a big task, and it will require a big team to succeed. Don't sit on the sidelines! Get involved and be part of this critical effort to establish a compassionate and functional medical marijuana law in Idaho.

Please spread the word to other supporters and follow the Idaho Cannabis Coalition on Facebook to stay updated!

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Medical Marijuana

Nebraska's medical marijuana signature drive is officially underway!

Volunteers needed — email info@nebraskamarijuana.org to get involved!

The Nebraska Legislature has adjourned for the year, and once again, prohibitionist lawmakers have prevented the passage of medical marijuana legislation. But the fight is far from over. The vast majority of Nebraskans support medical marijuana, and if a medical marijuana measure appears on the ballot in 2020, there's an excellent chance it will pass.

Nebraskans for Sensible Marijuana Laws is leading the charge, and they need your help. Last weekend, they collected an impressive 1,400 signatures in just two days, but there's still a long road ahead. They need as many volunteers as possible to meet their goal by the end of the summer.

Below are several volunteer opportunities coming up this weekend. Please contact the campaign field coordinators by emailing info@nebraskamarijuana.org to let them know which events you can attend.


SATURDAY (6/8):

LINCOLN - Haymarket Farmers Market
Saturday 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.

OMAHA - Old Market Farmers Market
Saturday 8 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

LINCOLN - New Kids on the Block concert - Pinnacle Bank Arena
Saturday 6 - 8 p.m.

SUNDAY (6/9):

OMAHA - Aksarben Village Farmers Market
Sunday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

LINCOLN - College View Farmers Market
Sunday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.


The campaign cannot qualify for the 2020 ballot without supporters like you. If you can, please get involved and volunteer today.

Thank you!

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Medical Marijuana

Utah Campaign Launches Signature Drive in Salt Lake City

The Utah Patients Coalition held a news conference on Thursday to announce the official launch of signature gathering efforts to get a medical marijuana initiative on the Nov. 2018 ballot.  Volunteers began collecting signatures in downtown Salt Lake City immediately following the event.

The Utah Medical Cannabis Act received approval from Lt. Governor Spencer Cox on August 10 to begin gathering signatures after supporters held 10 public hearings across the state and met with various state departments and stakeholders. More than 113,000 valid signatures are required to qualify for the ballot.

Good 4 Utah reports:

They are due April 15, 2018, but this group wants to get all the signatures turned in before the 2018 Legislative Session starts.

...

"The legislature has had an opportunity for the last three or four years to make substantive policy on this and has failed to do so, so now I think it's time for the people to decide on this issue," said DJ Schanz, Utah Patients Coalition Campaign Director.

The initiative would allow patients with certain qualifying conditions to legally and safely access medical cannabis with the recommendation of their doctor. It limits the number of dispensaries and cultivators, allows local zoning for medical cannabis facilities, prohibits using medical cannabis in public view, maintains the illegality of driving while intoxicated, and closely mirrors the legislation passed by the Utah Senate in 2016. Home cultivation and smoking medical cannabis would not be permitted.

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