Voters in Yellowstone County, Montana, will not take a second vote on the legalization of recreational cannabis. County commissioners voted on Tuesday, 3rd August, not to allow a re-vote on allowing recreational marijuana businesses to operate within Yellowstone.
In November 2020, Montana passed the Montana Legalization Initiative, or I-190, with 57% of the vote. However, the numbers were much closer in Yellowstone County, with votes in favour of I-190 sitting at just 50.7%, a difference of approximately 1,100 votes in favor of the measure.
The initiative supports legalizing the possession and use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. It also imposes a 20% tax on marijuana sales, requires the Department of Revenue to regulate marijuana businesses, and allows for the expungement of marijuana-related crimes. House Bill 701, which carries the language of the original initiative, was signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte earlier this year.
Residents of Yellowstone County arguing to overturn the approval of I-190 voiced concerns regarding a rise in underage drug consumption and increasing crime in regions where adult-use cannabis has been legalized. County Commissioner John Ostlund voted against recreational cannabis, articulating that he thought it could create social problems for the county. But he also stated that a re-vote would not honor the electoral process, and that the voters had spoken.
Resolution 21-60, a measure to approve a 3% local option tax on all marijuana sales, including medical marijuana, in Yellowstone County, passed 2-0 later in Tuesday’s meeting.