Montana Governor Vetoes Bill to Reappropriate Marijuana Tax Revenue

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has vetoed a bill that would have reappropriated some of the revenue generated from legal marijuana sales.

Senate Bill 442 was passed overwhelmingly in both the House and Senate, 82 to 17 and 48 to 1. Despite this, Governor Gianforte has vetoed the measure. Typically the legislature could override an executive veto through a 2/3rds majority vote, but the legislative session ended on Tuesday. Although technically a veto can be overridden through the mail if the session has ended, it’s considered a difficult and unlikely move.

SB 442 would have created a new special revenue account for county roads, with the account funded by appropriating 20% of the revenue the state generates from legal marijuana sales. The funds would have gone to the Department of Transportation to be distributed monthly to county and consolidated city-county governments to be used for “construction, reconstruction, maintenance and road repair”.

Under the marijuana legalization initiative approved by voters in November, 2020, $6 million of the state’s marijuana tax revenue is put aside for the HEART account (to combat drug addiction), with the rest being distributed to benefit wildlife, state parks, trails and recreational facilities.

The bill, filed by Senator Mike Lang, would:

  • Change the $6 million sent to the HEART fund to instead be 11% of total revenue
  • Increase the veteran’s account distribution from $200,000 to 5% of total revenue
  • Allocate 20% of total revenue to create a new habitat legacy account, with a majority of the funding to be used for “wildlife habitat purchases”
  • Allocate 5% of total revenue to the Department of Military Affairs

The full text of SB 442 can be found here.

A separate proposal, House Bill 669, is also now dead after passing the House 65 to 35 early last month.

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