The Treasure State appears poised to welcome a new kind of precious substance.
Following a vote by Montana Senate lawmakers to approve a new bill geared at implementing and taxing legal cannabis on Friday afternoon, House Bill 701 now needs just one approval from the Senate chamber before the House takes it over to approve any new amendments.
Ultimately, should it get that far — and many are optimistic that it will — the bill will land on the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte. The cannabis advocacy group NORML gave Gianforte a “C minus” rating in its most recent “Smoke the Vote” guide.
When you’re baking a cake, starting from scratch can be a very fulfilling experience. When you’re crafting and implementing the framework for an entire new industry? Not as ideal.
Perhaps that’s why Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) recently reached out to New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) for some advice on getting a legal cannabis plan through a state legislature.
During a recent podcast appearance, Grisham acknowledged that Lamont has occasionally phoned her with questions. That’s because in February, her Connecticut counterpart included cannabis legalization in his annual budget proposal, though some feel Lamont’s plan does not go far enough.
Last month, a bill more focused on social equity, sponsored by Rep. Robyn Porter (D), passed the legislature’s Public Employees Committee by a vote of 9-4. At present, it is possible elements of the two efforts will merge, though Grisham’s advice to Lamont included a recommendation that the two efforts stay separated.
“I did say that I thought it was really smart to separate the bills so that you’ve got a social justice — one’s contingent upon the other — so that you’ve got motivation to move them both,” Lamont explains to ‘Going Forward’ podcast co-host Megan Kamerick.
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