Montana voters passed recreational marijuana, making it legal to grow and possess marijuana in Billings city limits. But, the Billings City Council successfully banned state-licensed, legal and regulated dispensaries from Billings city limits. Now that there is a market for legal recreational marijuana — and Steve Zabawa's Safe Montana wants recreational marijuana dispensaries banned from Yellowstone County — who will supply to the 200,000 people in our region? The main purpose of HB701 was to "curtail illegal drug activity and provide a safe and regulated product to the citizens of Montana."
What are Billings City Council members and Yellowstone County Commissioners planning in order to keep citizens safe from drug traffickers, violence and untested or unregulated products that are allowed by state law? There will be a major influx of illegal marijuana on Jan. 1 for the market created by the actions of Billings City Council. But, it will also come with no tax revenue, and a cost to taxpayers, the courts, police officers, wasting resources and time on something that could be regulated and be a revenue.