You may have noticed tables set up throughout Gallatin County asking for you to add your signature to an initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana in Montana.

New Approach Montana is a statewide campaign working to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. The organization submitted two complementary 2020 ballot initiatives to the state for review. The first is a statutory initiative that would legalize marijuana in Montana for adults aged 21 and over and establish a regulatory framework for cultivation and sales. The second is a constitutional amendment that would allow the legal minimum age for marijuana consumption to be 21.

The following information was provided by the Montana - Marijuana Policy Project Website.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and public health directives against social gatherings, the campaign was unable to begin gathering the signatures it needed to qualify the measures for the ballot.

In April, the campaign submitted a lawsuit against the state requesting that electronic signatures be permitted and for the signature collection deadline to be extended.

A Missoula District Court judge denied that request, and on May 7, New Approach Montana launched its signature drive on May 9 instituting a comprehensive set of public health protocols to limit contact between signature gatherers and petition signers.

To qualify for the November 2020 ballot, the campaign must gather 25,468 signatures for I-190 and 50,936 signatures for CI-118. Under state law, all signatures must be submitted to county clerks by June 19.

The adult-use legalization initiative would allocate marijuana tax revenue to land, water, and wildlife conservation programs, veteran services, substance abuse treatment, long-term health care, and local governments. Read a full summary of the proposal here.

For more information, visit the New Approach Montana website.