In November, 57% of Montana voters passed legalization. Fourteen states have now legalized cannabis, while another 16 have decriminalized it. Thirty-three states have enacted medical marijuana laws.
The federal legislation would provide legal protections against criminal prosecution for banks that provide services to fully licensed cannabis businesses. It would also prohibit federal banking regulators from prohibiting banks or lawyers or landlords from providing services to cannabis businesses that are fully licensed with the state.
Rep. Mike Hopkins, the Missoula Republican who will carry the implementation bill in the Montana Legislature, said Tuesday federal legislation would help the industry develop into a healthy business landscape.
“I’m looking at it as going in to the future, adult-use marijuana in the state of Montana deserves to be, and as has been demonstrated through the medical program, to be part of the regular business community,” Hopkins said. “Getting that wrapped up makes sure folks who are doing good business … have the opportunity to grow their business just like any sector.”
In January, the Montana Department of Revenue requested from the Legislature $250,000 to construct a secure cash room to safely handle tax revenues from the upcoming businesses. That request was part of a broader bid for funding to start up the department’s new recreational marijuana program, but lawmakers rejected the initial ask, stating in committee hearings that it was too early to know how much to spend on the program.