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Government & Politics

Montana Officials Continue To Work On Rules For Marijuana Legalization

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Montana officials are preparing for the state’s recreational marijuana program to come online in January. Some are worried the process is being rushed.

Kristan Barbour with the Montana Department of Revenue is head of the new Cannabis Control Division and gave a committee of lawmakers an update Wednesday.

She and her team are charged with carrying out the policies passed during the 2021 legislative session that are guiding regulation of recreational marijuana in the state.

“We want to ensure that the industry and the public know what to expect and how the department will enforce the new law,” she says.

Voters approved legalization last November. Consuming recreational cannabis has been legal since then, but dispensaries are waiting for a regulatory and tax system to come online before they can sell recreational marijuana products.

Barbour says staff are working to make that happen by January 1.

She says the most pressing tasks for her division are to fine-tune a new licensing and tax system, to develop a payment model and to execute the public rulemaking process for 30 new business regulations.

Pepper Petersen of the Montana Cannabis Guild says he worries there’s not going to be enough time for the public to comment on proposed rules to make a difference.

“Thirty rules at once — there’s going to be a lot of comment and there’s probably going to be a lot of changes people want,” he says.

Barbour says her division plans to hold a public meeting on proposed rules on November 1.

Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.