Monday, September 27, 2021

Reader wants pot tax to go to conservation measures

| March 17, 2021 12:00 AM

Why are so many Montanans feeling undermined and blindsided?

Last November, when Montanans voters passed Initiative-190, which legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21+ statewide, they were under the impression that 49.5% of the tax revenue generated from the sale of marijuana would fund conservation measures.

However, the legislature is contradicting the ballot language and considering reallocating funding away from important programs like Habitat Montana.

Of the dollars originally allocated for conservation, 37% was intended to fund Habitat Montana, a state program that purchases wildlife habitat. Not only has Habitat Montana helped support wildlife populations, but also benefited hunters, anglers, and recreationists who enjoy the outdoors and access to public lands.

In 2020, the pandemic showed us just how valuable our public lands are for providing an escape to clear our minds, connect with nature, and promote our overall health and well-being.

Montana also saw a multitude of people relocate to Montana for its wide-open spaces, which only put more pressure on our public lands and outdoor recreational facilities.

It is vital that we continue to conserve and manage these places as more and more people flock to the outdoors.

Leave a message for your legislator(s) by calling 406-444-4800 and tell them you want them to honor the will of the voters and ensure we are fully funding conservation in House Bill 2 and House Bill 5.

Emma Kardokus

Heron, Montana