Momentum could be building for the legalization of recreational weed in Montana. That’s because a local group working for cannabis reform in the state has just received big time backing from advocacy groups.

If the efforts in Montana succeed, voters could see legalization on the ballot next year. However, with all that said, there is still a long ways to go. That includes getting initial approval for the proposal and then gathering enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

National Support for Local Efforts

Right now, the charge to legalize recreational weed in Montana is being led largely by a group called Coalition406. Currently, the group is spearheading two separate ballot initiatives. Both of them would impact cannabis laws in the state.

So far, the group has been operating more or less on its own throughout Montana. But now, the group said it has received national support.

Specifically, Coalition406 just announced that it is partnering with national marijuana advocacy organization New Approach PAC. New Approach is based in Washington, D.C. and has already been a big player in legalization efforts in places such as California, Maine, and Massachusetts.

In addition to partnering with New Approach PAC, Coalition406 also said it has received support from the Marijuana Policy Project.

Moving forward, Coalition406 will now go by the name New Approach Montana. And along with the new name, the group has voiced renewed confidence in its mission.

“I have every faith that these are gonna pass,” Pepper Petersen, political director of Coalition406, told Montana Public Radio. “There seems to be an inevitability coming from the federal government. So let’s do something in Montana that we own, rather than something that D.C. hands us.”

Two Legislative Proposals

Currently, Coalition406—now with its national backers—is working to advance two legislative proposals.

The first one deals explicitly with cannabis. This one, called the Marijuana Regulation Act, would legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis for adult use in the state.

The second proposal is not directly about cannabis. But its implications would directly impact what legalization would look like in Montana. It has to do with the legal definition of an adult in the state.

Currently, a person 18 and older is considered an adult. But if weed becomes legal, that would change to 21. To address this, Coalition406 is also putting forth a proposal to amend the state constitution so that adults are defined as those 21 years and older.

At the moment, the group is still finalizing the wording of these proposals. Additionally, they still need to get initial approval for the proposals. If the proposals get the necessary approvals, the group can start gathering signatures of support.

The proposals will only show up on next year’s ballot if Coalition406 gets enough signatures. But with new backing, the group plans to devote much more funding to advancing its ideas. Specifically, Petersen said the group could be on the verge of spending more than $3 million on campaigning efforts.

Earlier this year, lawmakers in Montana voted against a bill to legalize recreational marijuana.

Introduce Yourself: Name, Company, Goals