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US (MT): Lawmaker pushes to override Governor’s cannabis tax revenue veto

The sponsor of a popular initiative seeking to divvy up more than $50 million of cannabis tax revenue is requesting that lawmakers be given an opportunity to override a veto Gov. Greg Gianforte issued in the final hours of the 2023 legislative session.

At issue is Senate Bill 442, which proposes to divide tax revenues levied on recreational cannabis sales between the General Fund, county road construction and maintenance, conservation and recreation programs, addiction treatment, and veterans services.

Gianforte vetoed SB 442 on May 2, the day after it passed its final legislative hurdle, a 48-1 endorsement by the Senate, arguing that the bill created a “slippery slope” by making the state responsible for “matters that are strictly under the jurisdiction of local authorities.” The governor also expressed concern that county governments would use the increased breathing room in their budgets to redirect taxpayer dollars to “capricious, unnecessary projects,” which he said would add to Montanans’ tax burden.

SB 442 backers questioned both the speed with which Gianforte issued the veto and its timing. In a press conference the day after he successfully moved to adjourn the Senate, Senate Minority Leaders Pat Flowers, D-Belgrade, said he found it “curious” how quickly the bill landed on Gianforte’s desk. “Somehow, that bill left our chamber and got to his veto pen more quickly than any other bill,” Flowers said. “The only thing I can assume is [Gianforte] really didn’t like the bill and was determined to get it vetoed immediately.”


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