Before the House voted Thursday, Rep. Barry Usher, a Republican who represents rural Musselshell and Yellowstone counties, asked if the legislation could benefit marijuana operations that come to Montana.
Voters legalized cannabis in the November election and the Legislature is in the process of establishing a program for the sale of cannabis on the recreational market.
“I don’t want to see these big marijuana companies come into Montana,” Usher said.
The bill set requirements for how many jobs a business would need to create and how long it would need to operate before an entrepreneur would have been exempt from paying capital gains taxes on the sale of stock for a business.
Rep. Becky Beard, a Republican from Elliston who carried the bill in the House, told Usher when the bill was drafted, it was meant to focus on sectors like the high-tech industry, manufacturing and others, not marijuana businesses.
“The bill … will promote our Montana businesses and promote continual attraction for new businesses developed right here at home,” Beard said, adding that she and others did not support the legalization of marijuana.
Rep. Kim Abbott, a Democrat from Helena and minority leader in the House, said her party opposed the bill because it targeted the wrong populations.