The use of marijuana in the United States has always been controversial. However, over the last few decades, there has been significant debate about legalizing marijuana, whether for medical purposes pertinent to personal injury and pain management or for recreational usage. As of this writing, the medical use of marijuana is allowed in 33 states, and 11 states have legalized marijuana use for recreational purposes. Now, voters in Montana have the choice to legalize recreational marijuana use in this state as well.

Will Marijuana Legalization be on the Montana November Ballot in 2020?

On November 3rd, 2020 citizens of this state will be able to vote on Montana CI-118. A vote of “Yes” on this initiative means that a person supports amending the Montana constitution to allow a citizen initiative to establish a minimum legal age for the “possession, use, and purchase of marijuana.” A vote of “No” on this initiative means that a person opposes amending the Montana constitution to allow for the legislature Gore citizen initiative to establish a minimum age for marijuana usage in the state. Medical cannabis laws were approved by voters in Montana in 2004, but citizens of this state have been reluctant to allow recreational marijuana. It has been a slow progression towards this step. In 2011, The Montana legislature passed a bill that banned medical marijuana advertisements, limited dispensaries to three users, and required that the state review any physician who prescribes marijuana to more than 25 patients per year. However, in 2016, voters in Montana repealed requirements that doctors have no more than three patients and allowed physicians to prescribe cannabis to patients diagnosed with chronic pain and PTSD. Voters also repealed police powers to conduct unannounced inspections at medical marijuana facilities.

What Happens if Marijuana is Approved on a Recreational Level?

If marijuana is approved at the recreational level in Montana, citizens in the state should not expect rapid changes. There will need to be an extensive framework put into place that establishes regulations on the industry. Estimates by the group that introduced the ballot initiative, New Approach, say that sales of marijuana in Montana will generate $48 million and tax revenue for the state by the year 2025. This constitutional amendment would only allow the legislature to set the legal age for marijuana usage to 21 years or older, similar to the limitations on the purchase of alcohol. In all likelihood, if recreational marijuana is approved, residents in Montana would only be allowed to carry a certain amount of cannabis on them at a time, or they would still face certain types of drug charges.

Can I Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana in Montana?

Should recreational marijuana be approved, or remain illegal for recreational purposes, in Montana, under no circumstances should any person drive after using the substance. Montana law states that any person found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or another type of substance could face DUI charges. Data from the CDC shows that THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana, affects areas of the brain that control the body’s movement, coordination, balance, memory, and judgment. Driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous, and can slow a person’s reaction time and ability to make sound decisions. The CDC states that the risk of impaired driving associated with marijuana in combination with alcohol, two substances often paired together, appear to be greater than the impairment caused by either substance by itself.