HELENA — The countdown is on to Saturday, January 1, 2022, when legal recreational marijuana sales will begin in Montana. Reporter Lindsey Stenger talked with the staff of Ganja Goddess in Helena about how they are preparing.
“December was really dedicated to getting the name out and the word out that things were going to be happening, as well as stocking up on things that we needed,” said Teria Gioch.
“I am very excited for this movement and to be able to educate people on cannabis. As a Montanan I never thought I would see the day that this would happen in my lifetime, so it’s very exciting,“ said Keeva Beddow.
Initiative 190 was approved by Montana voters 56% to 43% in November 2020, but that doesn't mean you'll be able to buy marijuana everywhere in the state.
People living in what are called "green counties" - where a majority of residents voted in favor - will be allowed to have recreational sales.
Residents of "red counties" - where voters opted out of legal sales - will not have recreational sales but still have the ability to make the switch as long as they put it up to a vote.
While marijuana will be legal in Montana, it's still not legal at the federal level, so that means having marijuana at Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park will still not be allowed.
Another thing you should know is that medical marijuana businesses that had a license on or before November 3, 2020, will be the only ones allowed to sell recreational marijuana for the first 18 months.
After July 1, 2023, new businesses will be allowed to apply for permits.
The Montana law allows for adults over the age of 21 to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana with a 20% state sales tax added to the purchase. Other localities may have an additional tax.
Marijuana businesses will only be allowed to open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Montanans will be allowed to have two mature plants and two seedlings in their home.
Public consumption of marijuana can get you a civil penalty, and driving under the influence of marijuana will still be illegal.