A marijuana plant in the rotunda of the Montana Capitol during a February 2009 "cannabis at the capitol" lobbying day. Credit: Chad Harder / MTFP

This story was updated at 10 a.m. on Nov. 4 to reflect the most current vote counts.

A pair of ballot initiatives designed to legalize adult use of recreational marijuana in Montana have been approved by voters, according to the Associated Press.

I-190 provides a regulatory framework to legalize and tax non-medicinal marijuana sales. CI-118 amends Montana’s Constitution to let the state set the legal age for purchasing marijuana at 21 instead of 18. Both measures needed to pass in order for recreational marijuana use to be legalized.

With 94% of Montana precincts reporting as of Wednesday morning, I-190 was approved by a 57-43 margin, according to AP. CI-118 passed by a 58-42 margin. AP called both ballot measures successful early Wednesday morning.

I-190’s legalization program is similar to the system currently used by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services to regulate medical marijuana. A 20% tax would be levied on recreational marijuana sales, with revenues split between public land upkeep, drug treatment programs, marijuana regulation enforcement and other uses. 

Three other initiatives were also on the 2020 ballot:

  • LR-130, which would ban local governments like cities and counties from implementing laws regulating firearms, including laws restricting the carrying of concealed weapons and the sale of firearms to felons, the mentally ill, undocumented immigrants and children. As of Wednesday morning, with 94% of precincts reporting, its outcome remained undetermined, with “yes” votes leading “no” votes by a one-percentage-point margin.
  • C-46 and C-47, a pair of measures that would clean up the language of Montana’s Constitution to reflect a 2005 court decision about requirements for signatures collected to qualify citizen initiatives and constitutional amendments on the ballot. Both passed handily, winning 77% and 75% of the vote, respectively.

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Eric Dietrich is a journalist and data designer and the founder of the Long Streets economic reporting project. His reporting focuses broadly on Montana’s governance and economic opportunity, with particular focus on the state budget and tax policy. He also contributes data reporting across the MTFP newsroom. Before joining the MTFP staff in 2019, he worked for the Great Falls Tribune, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, and Solutions Journalism Network and also earned an engineering degree from Montana State University. Contact Eric at edietrich@montanafreepress.org, 406-465-3386 ext. 2, and follow him on Twitter.