The Montana Department of Revenue has revised proposed regulations regarding cannabis advertising that had raised eyebrows among dispensaries, growers and others in the state’s burgeoning adult-use cannabis industry.
This summer, the department has been navigating an exhaustive rulemaking process ahead of the Jan. 1, 2022, opening of Montana’s recreational cannabis market. While Montana voters gave adult-use cannabis the green light last November and the legislature passed a law to implement the program earlier this year, it has been up to state bureaucrats at the revenue department—which will oversee both the new recreational market and the medical marijuana system previously managed by the Department of Public Health and Human Services—to sort out the details.
While the legislature put various guardrails on legal cannabis during this spring’s session, stakeholders in Montana’s cannabis industry weren’t happy with some DOR proposals earlier this year. One rule under consideration would have restricted the size of signs outside dispensaries and required signage to include a lengthy warning about cannabis’s intoxicating effects and potential to be habit-forming, among other cautions. Another would have prohibited dispensaries from advertising. Pepper Petersen, president and CEO of the Montana Cannabis Guild, which represents producers and dispensaries across the state, called the proposals a “radically conservative interpretation of the law.” In August, he said his group was prepared to sue the state over those rules.
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