On December 13th, lawmakers approved reworked cannabis rules proposed by the Montana Department of Revenue. The changes largely apply to five new rules proposed by the department, some of which were brought to lawmakers after discussions with industry players.
Per the rules approved, tribes will be able to obtain higher capacity licenses. House Bill 701, the legalization framework lawmakers passed earlier this year, granted each tribal government a tier 1 license, the smallest capacity with 1,000 square feet of indoor cultivation, but made no mention of whether the tribes would be able to scale up their operations. The highest tier license made available in HB 701 is tier 12, which allows 50,000 square feet of cultivation space.
The rules will require outdoor grow operations to remain the same size. Providers are not permitted, per HB 701, to develop new outdoor grow facilities, although outdoor sites that were in place before the 2020 election have been grandfathered in.
J.D. "Pepper" Petersen, president of the trade group Montana Cannabis Guild, applauded the changes, particularly those that affect the tribes. Only four or five tribal governments are interested in participating in the new cannabis market, he told the committee, and he hopes to see more engagement. "We want to see the tribes participate and we want to see an even playing field so that the folks that may have been impacted heavily by this could benefit from this as well, instead of just a subsect of our society," he said.
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