A bill introduced in a House committee Wednesday would trim the cannabis industry in Montana to just 100 business licenses, far short of the 355 current medical marijuana providers, as a preemptive attempt to corral the upcoming recreational market passed resoundingly by voters in November.
House Bill 568 would limit dispensaries to one per 1,000 county residents with a cap of 10 dispensaries per county. Rep. Lola Sheldon-Galloway, a Republican from Great Falls, said she was carrying the bill on behalf of the Cascade County Substance Abuse Alliance, which aimed to make a dent in marijuana use among middle and high school students.
The Cascade County Substance Abuse Alliance did not testify remotely or in person in support of the bill in Wednesday’s committee hearing. Nor did anyone else.
But members of the medical marijuana industry from across the state lined up to oppose the bill in the House Business and Labor Committee. Opponents raised issue with the state taking away years of sweat equity into their business. Glenn Broughton, owner of Starbudz in Missoula and two other dispensaries, said he recently invested in an $800,000 property that could be swept away,