Montana Voters Legalize Cannabis for Adult Use


Editor’s note: This is one of five states with cannabis legalization for medical or adult use on the ballot today. 

Montana voters have legalized cannabis for adult use in the Big Sky State. Before today, eleven states and D.C. had already legalized cannabis for adult use. 

Montana voters passed two initiatives on their ballots: I-190, to legalize cannabis for adult use, and CI-118, to amend the state constitution to “allow the legislature or the people by initiative to establish the legal age for purchasing, consuming, or possessing marijuana,” which I-190 sets at 21. 

Adults aged 21 and older will now be able to buy and possess up to an ounce of cannabis, and residents will be allowed to grow four mature plants (and four seedlings) at home. Further, individuals who are “currently serving a sentence” for activities permitted by I-190 will be able to “apply for resentencing or an expungement of the conviction.” 

A fiscal note on I-190 shows that cannabis sales could reach near $200 million by 2025, and taxes and fees are by then expected to bring in around $48 million for the state. The Initiative would set a 20% tax on cannabis sales, with 10.5% of that revenue going toward the state’s general fund, and the remainder going toward “conservation programs, substance abuse treatment, veterans’ services, healthcare costs, and localities where marijuana is sold,” according to the Initiative text.

Montana voters initially passed a medical cannabis initiative in 2004, and later, in 2016, approved a measure that expanded the state’s program. Today, the latest data from state regulators show that there are 38,385 patients registered with the state, with more than 30,000 qualifying for chronic pain. 

An October poll from Montana State University showed that 54% of likely voters said they would vote “yes,” while 38% said they would not, and 7% remained undecided.

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