This fall, Montana voters will have the option of voting to legalize recreational marijuana. Montana I-190, the Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative, would legalize the possession and use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21, impose a 20% tax on marijuana sales, require the Department of Revenue to develop rules to regulate marijuana businesses, and allow for the resentencing or expungement of marijuana-related crimes. A related initiative, Montana CI-118, would amend the state’s Constitution to allow for the legislature or a citizen initiative to establish a minimum legal age for the possession, use, and purchase of marijuana, similar to the regulation of alcohol.
These issues will be debated at City Club Missoula on September 14, via Zoom, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Former Montana state legislator Dave Lewis, Senior Policy Advisor for New Approach Montana, will take the “pro” position. New Approach is a ballot initiative committee working to pass both initiatives. Taking the “con” position is Steve Zabawa, treasurer of Wrong For Montana, a ballot initiative committee opposing the initiatives. Ray Ekness will serve as moderator. Ray directs the Broadcast Media Center at the University of Montana and oversees both Montana Public Radio and the Missoula arm of Montana PBS.
Dave Lewis, New Approach Montana Senior Policy Advisor (Yes)- Dave Lewis served in the Budget Office for four Governors; Tom Judge, Ted Schwinden, Stann Stephens and Marc Racicot. After retirement he served in the Montana Legislature for 14 years. He served terms in the House and Senate. He served one term each as Chairman of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance and Claims Committees and several terms as vice chairman. His wife Karen and he have three children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Stephen A Zabawa, Treasurer, Wrong for Montana (No)- Steve is heavily involved now for a decade in fighting the legalization of marijuana in Montana with his current Wrong for Montana Ballot Action Committee. Steve is currently working with Smart Approaches to Marijuana SAM ACTION to oppose I-190 and CI-118. Steve wants to protect the pristine, healthy, and productive lifestyle Montana currently
offers! Married to Susan Sullivan, they have raised seven Montana adult children and are now grandparents to eleven.
Ray Ekness, MTPBS and MT Public Radio