Wonderland: John Mayer & Friends Perform for Yellowstone

I missed the abrupt breeze that tends to grace these parts as I stood in line on that hot August afternoon, waiting to enter Pine Creek Lodge, a relatively intimate music venue nestled beneath the Absaroka Mountain Range in Montana’s Paradise Valley. The lack of shade didn’t stop the excited crowd from mingling, one of my favorite parts of a live music experience. Once the line started moving, I had the pleasure of meeting people from other states, many of whom were visiting Montana for the first time.

Out-of-towners were welcomed with that love-thy-neighbor ethos that encompasses so much of “The Last Best Place.” Paradise Valley, in particular, draws an immense number of tourists, due of course, to its close proximity to Yellowstone National Park. But this past August, the newbies flocked to the valley for a different reason.

Music superstar John Mayer, who lives there part-time, was hosting three shows at Pine Creek Lodge. The first concert featured Mayer with Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead; the second featured a comedy set by the hilarious (and often controversial) Dave Chapelle; and for the third, Mayer performed solo. He called the first-of-its-kind series “Rise for the River.”

Comedian Dave Chappelle joined John Mayer onstage at Pine Creek Lodge on August 14, 2022. 

As the name suggests, Mayer was performing to provide economic relief for the community following the disastrous June 2022 flooding of the Yellowstone River. Event proceeds benefited the Southwest Montana Flood Relief Fund.

The Livingston and Paradise Valley communities took a big hit in expected tourism revenues. So, when Mayer announced he was hosting three intimate concerts for flood relief, it was just the dose of magic Montana needed. 

Where the actual Pine Creek flows into the Yellowstone River is close to Mayer’s Montana residence, so Pine Creek Lodge, a favorite of the multiple Grammy-winner, was a natural choice for the charity concert series.

I was there for night one, August 8, when Mayer performed with the legendary Weir. Everything about that night was extraordinary, almost as if it was a dream. The traditional “open campus” aspect that Pine Creek Lodge is known for was a bit tauter. As expected, the small venue was wildly different from the last time Mayer and Weir took the stage with Dead & Company. The electricity in the air was palpable.

Bob Weir and John Mayer perform on. stage at Pine Creek Lodge
Bob Weir and John Mayer perform an intimate show to an enthralled audience.

The two artists opened the show by exchanging lead on “Friend of the Devil.” If I closed my eyes, I could’ve been at any one of the massive venues they play—The Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington, Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre in Colorado, or even The Forum in Los Angeles.

Instead, we were minutes from our home, seeing absolute music supernovas, jointly grieving the losses the community endured from the flood.

The results of the flood were devastating and far reaching. Fishing guides couldn’t get on the river as soon as they wanted, let alone hold bookings. Bartenders and other service industry workers weren’t getting their usual summer paycheck to help push through the winter. And then there are the longtime locals living off the land who lost nearly everything.

It’s said that Pine Creek Lodge is one of the country’s first music venues with an on-site dispensary. Bozeman-based Cold Smoke Organics serendipitously kicked off their adult-use cannabis sales inside the venue the very same night Mayer and Weir graced the stage, setting the tone for what’s to come.

The dispensary’s founder and legacy grower Matt Kleman says his desire to set up shop inside Pine Creek all goes back to the human connection. “Music is a universal language, and cannabis is as well,” he says. “I grew up with those two cultures welded together, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It makes sense. We want to bring people together and be a part of what the musicians are already doing.”

Cold Smoke Organics dispensary at Pine Creek Lodge
Concertgoers are able to purchase pre-rolls from Cold Smoke Organics at Pine Creek Lodge, one of the country’s first music venues with a dispensary on-site.

Cold Smoke Organics launched into the summer music season with three pre-roll varieties: Shakedown, Setbreak and Encore. Shakedown consists of Jack Herer, which is a sativa, meant to get your concert experience rolling. The Setbreak pre-rolls are a hybrid, Apple Fritter, mixing up your mid-show experience. Lastly, Encore consists of Tre Star Dawg, an indica hoping to move you right into your post-show groove.

But none of it would be possible—the weed or the music—without the passion of Pine Creek Lodge Owner Chip Hurt. According to Kleman, from the very beginning, he’s said, “Let’s go for it.”

What a night. Powerful. Inspiring. Once in a lifetime. Whether you decided to light one up and pass it around, or simply absorb the energy and talent of this special occasion, every person there came together for an evening this town will not soon forget. John Mayer’s love for this special corner of the planet was evident for all to see. The “Not Fade Away” encore may have said it best: “You know my love will not fade away.”

This story was originally published in issue 47 of the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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Montana Lawmakers Approve Cannabis Tax Bill

Montana lawmakers on Monday passed a bill to allocate revenue from taxes on recreational marijuana, sending the bill to the desk of Republican Governor Greg Gianforte for his consideration. The legislation, Senate Bill 442, was approved in a final vote by the Montana Senate on Monday after the state House of Representatives passed an amended version of the bill last week.

Montana voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2020 with the passage of Initiative 190, a ballot measure that passed with nearly 57% of the vote. Under the initiative, a tax of 20% was levied on recreational marijuana products, with revenue generated by the tax reserved for Habitat Montana, a 30-year-old wildlife habitat acquisition initiative often described as Montana’s “premiere habitat program,” according to a report from the Montana Free Press.

Governor Sought Reallocation Of Cannabis Taxes

Before the start of this year’s legislative session, the governor revealed his desire to reallocate the state’s recreational marijuana taxes away from habitat purchases and instead spend the money on law enforcement resources related to legalizing marijuana. Lawmakers responded with several new proposals, arguing that reallocating recreational marijuana taxes would allow the state to meet other pressing budgetary needs and give the legislature more control of the revenue.

In the original version of Senate Bill 442, which was introduced in February by Republican state Senator Mike Lang, a portion of cannabis tax revenue was diverted away from the habitat fund and instead allocated to funding for county roads. Supporters of the proposal maintained that the bill would support access to rural areas and open spaces. But wildlife advocates balked at the proposal, claiming it defied the will of the voters as expressed through Initiative 190.

Lang then amended the bill to divide the bulk of cannabis tax revenue among the state’s general fund, funding for county roads and a new Habitat Legacy Account, which would be used for wildlife improvements on public and private land. Smaller allocations would also be made to fund substance misuse programs, veterans services and funding for state parks and trails.

“I think we’ve made some pretty smart changes here that are intended to invest in rural Montana’s roads, lands and hunting opportunities while providing support for our veterans and a growing need for drug treatment,” Lang said after revising the bill. “At the end of the day we want to give our local counties and local people the tools and resources they need to improve the conditions of the land and be good stewards of Montana.” 

The amended bill received support from state lawmakers and groups representing business interests including the Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Petroleum Association, and conservation organizations such as Wild Montana, Helena Hunters and Anglers and the Citizen’s Elk Management Coalition, all registered support for the proposal. Many county commissioners and the Montana Association of Counties also indicated their approval of the measure.

“Our county roads are being used more than ever now,” said Roman Zylawy, president of the Montana Association. “Recreation and agriculture are part of our Montana way of life and this bill recognizes the importance of — and the need for — integration of all through an investment in our county roads. … The Montana Association of Counties thanks you all and we encourage, with the utmost respect, Gov. Gianforte to sign SB 442 and provide ongoing investment in our county roads.”

Competing Bill Dies In Senate

A separate bill that would have directed all cannabis tax revenue to the state’s general fund passed in the House of Representatives last month. Proponents of the measure, House Bill 669 from Representative Bill Mercer, argued that lawmakers would be able to control the allocation of tax revenue and direct it to state budget priorities.

“Under 669, it would simply say that that revenue should go to the general fund and the Legislature as a whole should decide how it wishes to spend that revenue,” Mercer told members of the House Appropriations Committee last month. “One of the reasons that I wanted to bring this bill is that I fear that, when you essentially begin to earmark dollars for special revenue accounts, they evade review on an ongoing basis. Every time we have a diversion into a special revenue account, I worry that it doesn’t get the same sort of scrutiny that it does in the general fund.”

But Jim Vashro, president of Flathead Wildlife Inc said that the will of Montana voters as expressed in the 2020 ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana should prevail.

“We would hope that the Legislature would listen to the voice of the people,” Vashro said. “We are trying to protect the Habitat Montana funding, which was the stated intent of Initiative 190.”

House Bill 669 was tabled by a Senate committee late last month. Senate Bill 442 has been sent to the governor’s desk and awaits action from Gianforte. On Monday, a spokesperson for Gianforte said that the governor “has substantial concerns” about Senate Bill 442 but did not provide further details on his position. 

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Bill To Dismantle Montana Adult-Use Weed Market Goes Down in Flames

You are still free to get high in the “Big Sky.” That is because last week, lawmakers in Montana voted to table a bill that would have effectively dismantled the state’s new adult-use cannabis program.

Republican state Sen. Keith Regier introduced Senate Bill 546 in Montana last month that would have eliminated recreational marijuana dispensaries in Montana.

Almost 60 percent of voters in Montana approved a ballot initiative in November 2020 to legalize weed for adults aged 21 and older, which set up a regulatory framework for a state-sanctioned recreational cannabis market.

Recreational cannabis sales launched last year, ultimately bringing in more than $200 million to the state in 2022.

The Montana Department of Revenue reported in January that sales of adult-use marijuana amounted to $202,947,328 in 2022, while medical cannabis sales came to $93,616,551. (Montana voters legalized medical cannabis in 2004.)

But Regier’s bill never made it out of the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee, which held a hearing on the measure on March 29.

“I just think it’s good not to make voters think that their voice doesn’t count. Then they really turn away from this whole process,” Kate Cholewa, who represents the trade group Montana Cannabis Industry Association, said at last week’s hearing for the bill, as quoted by Montana Free Press.

Per the outlet, Regier addressed that objection during his opening remarks at the hearing, saying that there “have been several examples of the will of the voters being reversed.” (“Two of the three examples he cited involved voter initiatives being overturned by courts, not lawmakers,” Montana Free Press noted.)

Regier’s bill would have also raised “the state tax on medical marijuana from 4% to 20% and puts significant limits on medical marijuana potency and allowable amounts for possession,” Montana Free Press reported last month.

The issue of marijuana potency was raised at last week’s committee hearing.

“There is no need to have 90% potent marijuana products unless you’re trying to addict kids,” 

Said Dr. Kevin Sabet, co-founder and president of the national anti-marijuana organization Safe Approaches to Marijuana, as quoted by Montana Free Press. “That’s simply the only reason to do it. Or addict (sic) people in the workplace and cause crashes on the road.”

But on Thursday, members of Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee decided they had heard enough, and voted 6-4 to table the bill.

According to Montana Free Press, “three Republican committee members—Senate President Jason Ellsworth, Committee Chair Jason Small and Sen. Walt Sales—joined with all three Democratic members to oppose the bill,” before the “committee subsequently tabled the bill unanimously.”

It might not be the Montana legislature’s last word on cannabis reform.

Last month, that same committee in the state Senate “heard testimony on two marijuana-related bills,” according to local news station KTVH, including one that “would prohibit marijuana businesses in Montana from promoting their business or brand in print, over TV and radio or using a billboard.”

The other proposal “would revise the required warning labels that marijuana businesses must put on their products, to say that marijuana use during pregnancy could result in ‘congenital anomalies, and inherited cancers developed by a child later in life,’” KTVH reported.

Tax revenue from marijuana sales in Montana are used to support a number of programs in the state, including the HEART Fund, which provides money for substance abuse treatment in Montana.

“Funding a full continuum of substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for communities, the HEART Fund will offer new support to Montanans who want to get clean, sober, and healthy,” the state’s Republican governor, Greg Gianforte, said in 2021.

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Practice Makes Perfect

Musician, singer, actor, comedian, and beatbox extraordinaire, Reggie Watts has layers like an onion. If onions ate edibles, that is.

Born in Germany and raised in Montana, Watts’s love affair with cannabis started with the finest schwag a teenager’s money could buy. Thankfully, that crispy weed didn’t hinder him as he stayed on a path that led him to learning all of the benefits the cannabis plant has to offer. 

Somehow he always gives the audience exactly what they want—not even Watts knows what he’s planning, from a TED Talk and comedy specials to his tones and beats on Comedy Bang! Bang!. His gift comes naturally and what a gift it is.

Edibles have also been a gift to him, not just to reduce stress and anxiety, but as a muse as well. He even takes his love for cannabis steps further, advocating far and wide in loopy improvised musical odes to 4/20 on The Late Late Show with James Corden where he serves as the leader of the show’s band, called Melissa.

We talked to Watts about practicing proper dosage, vibes over terps, and an “edible game” he plays when alone with himself. (Get your minds out of the gutter.)

High Times: What was the weed like growing up in Montana?

Photo credit: Robyn Von Swank

Reggie Watts: Oh man, I mean, it was very schwaggy. It was very brown with seeds in it, but we would get really fucked up! I don’t remember its efficiency, I didn’t know anything about that then, but we were high. I guess it came from Mexico? That’s what everyone always said, “It came from Mexico.” Who even knows if it was true.

Do you remember where you got it back then?

I like that question because it’s like you’re trying to score some.

Yeah so, where’d you get that dirt weed from? Can I get that number like, pssst… Reggie sent me?

So yeah, is there an email I get? A number I can hit up? I need some schwag! You know, I don’t know where we got it from back then. It was always my friend that procured it, and I had no idea where he got it. Ok actually, there was one time when I knew where we got it. I had broken into a small pickup truck and behind the seat, there was a huge brown paper bag full of weed. We ended up selling that in the summer, but we kept a bunch too. So that’s where we got some of our weed, but the rest of it my friend Beav got that was probably just from some guy. Maybe he got it from Mexico.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve MacGyvered to smoke pot out of? 

Wow, what would that have been? Oh, you know what? This one was a pretty good one. I had this wood coffee table that I got from a thrift store when I was furnishing my first place in Seattle. My friend was a woodworker so, we decided to make one of the corners of the table into a pipe. So, we carved out a bowl and then drilled a hole in the corner so you had to just like, get down on your knees, put some weed on top of the table in the bowl, and draw from the corner of the table. You know what? It worked!

That’s the most random thing I’ve ever heard. Now that you’re a vet in the game, do you have a favorite strain?

My favorite stuff comes from my friend Dave. He’s in a band and grows the most amazing weed. It’s incredible because it’s grown biodynamically and it just has this really chill, fun, and awesome feeling to it. That’s my favorite. I’m not really a connoisseur when it comes to strains and things like that because for me it’s like, is it weed? Ok, lemme get high off of it.  I’m not really like, well the terpenes are like… yeah, I have no idea.

“What gets me high? What’s a good vibe? For me it’s about the vibe. When someone is like, this is great for being creative… yeah good, let’s get high. That is all I need and I’m happy.”

– Reggie Watts

That’s so funny because every weed store is like, this is great because of the percent of terps and I’m like, “Let me stop you. I’ll take a sativa. Preferably something fruity.”

Yeah! What gets me high? What’s a good vibe? For me it’s about the vibe. When someone is like, this is great for being creative… yeah good, let’s get high. That is all I need and I’m happy. I also try to stick to edibles because smoking does kind of fuck with my throat.

Ahhh yes. I recall a space cake story you told on A Little Late with Lilly Singh. Have you given space cakes another go or was that it for you?

Of course! I’m not one of those people who give up or have a crazy experience like, “oh I’m never going to do that on stage again.” Of course I’m going to do that on stage again. The one thing I dislike is that every single person I run into when I offer them an edible is like, “I don’t know mannnn, I just can’t, it makes me all urghhhh.” I just feel like, you have to keep trying. You have to practice, know your amounts, and pick a brand that is consistent. People just give up so easily and weed has so many benefits. Don’t pass on it!

I hate to be part of the problem, but I once ate 25 mg, couldn’t move for 12 hours, and I had shit to do.

Photo credit: Robyn Von Swank

I don’t think anyone is a pussy for not taking them. And if you took too much, you took too much. I can’t just be like, “SUCK IT UP!” There are tricks you can do to calm yourself down and get through it, but it’s not really about that. It’s about how that was too much, so next time, you’ll do 4 mg or 2.5 mg. People get afraid of edibles and they’re so scienced out now and have all different kinds of doses from low to high. And their levels are insanely accurate, which makes them awesome products. I think edibles have a big advantage and I think they’re very helpful.

OK you win! I’ll give them another go. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re all high and such?

All stizzy? That wasn’t sponsored. I enjoy the classics like video games and watching a really amazing show of any kind, mainly science fiction. Those things I really love. Something else I really love is, I just recently got ahold of some Level pills that are 100 mg each. I’ll take a high dose, like 100 mg, and then just try to complete technical tasks. Firmware updates or organizing a drawer or something like that. I love stuff like that because it’s basically me trying to batten down the hatches on a ship that’s in the middle of a hurricane, you know?

It’s a mental exercise or a creative challenge. Can I maintain my composure? A lot of people don’t know I’m high on an edible, or on anything. I have some weird ability to tap into normalcy and I can get into a pragmatic mindset. I just kind of do it as a practice because you know, when shit goes down, I don’t wanna be freaking out! I want to go into problem solving rather than being all, “AHHHHH!!!!”

I think you need to sell portions of your brain to other people. We all need a little Watts brain, please.

Yeah, I should do that. I need to create a method. The Watts method!


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Getting High in Big Sky

The culture is shifting. You can feel it. As legalization takes root in more and more places, the full measure of what we mean when we say “cannabis culture” is beginning to reveal itself in some truly beautiful and surprising ways. It’s here — in a place beyond close-up pictures of trichomes, impossibly high THC levels and dab rigs — that you’ll find Dangle Supply Company, the industry’s first company committed exclusively to the timeless joys of consuming cannabis in the Great Outdoors.

Based in southwest Montana, in the buzzy and adventure-minded community of Bozeman, Dangle is getting quite the good rep simply by making great outdoor gear and having plenty of fun along
the way.

“Grown-ups want nice, well-designed things that will last,” says Adam Sklar, Dangle Supply Company’s co-founder. “And grown-ups also like to laugh. No one’s more surprised than us that we’re having success. It was a total accident to end up here.”

The DangleBong Titanium Waterpipe is the world’s first and only Titanium Water Pipe.

Indeed, the origin story behind Dangle is a bit hazy. Started by a couple of bicycle nerds as a private joke back in 2018, Dangle is now a full-blown brand with a line of elegant titanium bongs and pipes purposefully built for adventure. With stockists all over the world, collabs with fashion and beer companies of international renown and a formidable social media presence that’s the absolute apex of laugh-out-loud, PG-13 stoner humor, Dangle’s success is no accident.

If their website and various media channels are to be believed, the company was actually started in 1969 by “Mr. Dan Gullbongs,” a passionate cyclo-tour enthusiast who happened upon a rogue set of metallurgist monks in the Swiss Alps back in the mid-20th century. It was there that Dan learned the dark arts of making titanium tubes, a skill that he quickly parlayed into making water pipes that fit his preferred lifestyle of casual cruising, bicycles, car camping and nature. As the story goes, Dan then turned the company over to his son, one “Danny Gullbongs,” a boy with a natural-born penchant for business. And Dangle Supply was born — a company that lives and thrives at the intersection of weed and having fun in nature.

But “Danny” is actually Adam, a professional bike builder and longtime titanium wizard. And “Danny Jr.,” another main character in the Dangle backstory courtesy of their in-house myth-making, is Colin Frazer, a fellow co-founder, artist and graphic design professor at the California Institute of the Arts. In truth, the duo started Dangle as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the exploding popularity of bike-packing (going camping via bicycle) and the tradition of clipping gear to yourself or your bike frame (dangling).

“Adam made ten bongs at first [as part of the joke] and we figured we’d have a good laugh giving them away to friends,” Frazer says. “Like, this is the most ridiculous thing you could dangle type of joke. But we actually sold them, so we made 100 more. And we sold those out in a day. It sort of took off by itself from there.”

Dangle Supply Company
The Big Ripper unbreakable bong is a beautiful example of modern design.

But the success isn’t just an internet fluke. Certainly, Sklar and Frazer stumbled upon a gaping hole in the market where cannabis consumers and outdoor recreation meet. In fact, they say that Dangle is primarily an outdoor company, one that reflects the new realities of cannabis culture in an increasingly legal landscape. There’s also the fact that they just make great stuff. Have a session with their “Big Ripper” or toss fully loaded “Lettuce Wrap” in your bag for a day in the backcountry and it quickly becomes clear that Dangle is much more than a well-executed joke; it’s form and function balanced with a designer’s eye and a cannabis lover’s mind. Bomb-proof elegance that gets the job done and keeps it mellow along the way.

And then there’s Ty, the face of Dangle. According to his email signature, Ty Baunghs is the company’s official Operations Manager. But, he’s also their spirit animal.

Bespectacled in large lens, thick-rimmed glasses and blessed with a dark and eye-catching beard, Baunghs is the long-haired, soft-spoken, jeans-and-boots-wearing, humble hero of Dangle’s imagined universe. He goes fly fishing and catches himself dressed as a bong-smoking wild salmon. He strips to his undies and paints himself green before taking a toke in the forest on Earth Day. He makes PSAs for safety during fire season and tirelessly heads up quality control on the bong and pipe divisions.

In actuality, Ty is Taylor Wallace, a Texas-born Renaissance dude Adam and Colin brought on board just as their “little joke” started to grow. Wallace, who runs the beloved Partner Coffee in Bozeman out of the back of a late model Ford Bronco, is a man of many talents. Almost immediately, Wallace helped Dangle streamline its customer support, bring all the company’s order fulfillment in-house and enhance Dangle’s storytelling antics. It was only a matter of time before “Ty” started scheming with “Dan” and “Danny” about how to best showcase the laid back and happy cannabis vibes that are at the very heart of Dangle Supply Company.

“It’s about being able to casually enjoy something,” Ty says about Dangle’s appeal. “For me, that’s a bong rip on a Sunday morning and then into the garage to rebuild my car’s carburetor. I think a lot of people are attracted to that type of energy.”

Dangle Supply Company
Dangle Supply Company is about getting out and enjoying nature.

The Unbreakable Bong

Ever wished you could hook a bong to your carabiner while backpacking through the great outdoors? Well, Dangle Supply Company is ready to make your next adventure more cannabis-friendly. 

Created by outdoorsy types for outdoorsy types, Dangle crafted the perfect indestructible bong to take on the trail. Weighing just 133 grams and clocking in at seven inches tall, the DangleBong Titanium Water Pipe is as easy to carry as it is to use. Simply fill the sleek chamber with water, attach the included 18mm UltraSucc titanium bowl piece filled with the strain of your choosing, and take a hit. Made from elemental, medical-grade titanium and equipped with extra percolation holes, the UltraSucc bowl delivers a super smooth pull every single time. Or if dabbing is more your style, swap the bowl out for your favorite compatible 18mm nail. Also included is one RubbPlugg silicone cap, which stops water spillage when you’re on the move.

From camping and backpacking to cycling, jogging or kayaking, Dangle’s unbreakable, non-reactive titanium pipe is ready to go — no more stressing over fragile glass pipes. They come in a few different colors: the classic raw titanium, as well as blue and orange speckle. These bongs are dishwasher safe, better for the environment, and they can be passed down for generations. Right up there with the head lamp, portable stove and sleeping pad, this trusty pipe will likely be added to your list of essentials when packing for your next outdoor excursion. – Gracie Malley

DangleBong Titanium Water Pipe | $169.42

This story was originally published in issue 44 of the print edition of Cannabis Now.

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Montana to Repeal Cannabis Legalization?

Is Montana set to repeal cannabis legalization? Some lawmakers want to reverse the process despite legalizing recreational sales in January 2022. Senate Bill 546 seeks to eliminate all retail stores and dispensaries in Montana while keeping simple possession legal. The bill also wants to raise the medical cannabis tax from 4% to 20%, an obscene figure. SB 546 also wants to halve the number of legal household plants from two to one. The crop from that single household plant, by […]

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Montana GOP Lawmaker Wants To Eliminate Recreational Dispensaries

More than two years after voters approved a measure legalizing recreational cannabis, and more than a year after the launch of the state’s regulated marijuana market, a Montana lawmaker wants to undo all of that. 

Last week, Republican state Sen. Keith Regier introduced a bill that includes a slate of reforms to Montana’s cannabis policy, most notably “eliminating adult-use dispensaries.” 

According to Montana Free Press, the bill “additionally raises the state tax on medical marijuana from 4% to 20% and puts significant limits on medical marijuana potency and allowable amounts for possession,” and although it would once again prohibit recreational cannabis, it would not “re-criminalize marijuana possession for adults.”

Regier’s bill states plainly its objective: “reduce the demand for marijuana sales.”

Montana Free Press has more background on the proposal:

“If passed into law, the bill would drastically reduce the potential consumer base for existing marijuana businesses and eliminate a significant source of revenue for state coffers. Since adult-use sales began in January 2022, Montana has generated $54 million in tax revenue from the industry. Less than one-tenth of that revenue came from medical marijuana taxes. Currently, recreational customers pay a 20% tax to the state; some counties add an additional 3% local tax.

The outlet reported that the bill will be the subject of a hearing on Wednesday in the Senate Business, Labor and Economic Affairs Committee.

Nearly 57% of Montana voters approved Initiative 190 in 2020, which legalized marijuana for adults aged 21 and older, and also laid the groundwork for cannabis sales to be taxed. 

Recreational cannabis sales launched last year, bringing in more than $200 million to the state in 2022.

According to the state, recreational marijuana sales amounted to $202,947,328 in 2022, while medical cannabis sales totaled $93,616,551. (Voters in Montana legalized medical marijuana treatment in 2004.)

The two combined to generate a grand total of $303,563,879 in marijuana sales last year. 

Montana generated $41,989,466 in tax revenue off recreational pot sales, according to the Department of Revenue, and $3,744,662 in taxes from medical cannabis sales. Combined, the state pulled in $45,734,128 in tax revenue from marijuana sales in 2022.

Marijuana reform has been a hot topic in Montana’s legislative session this year. 

Earlier this month, the Business and Labor Committee “heard testimony on two marijuana-related bills,” according to local news station KTVH –– one of which “would prohibit marijuana businesses in Montana from promoting their business or brand in print, over TV and radio or using a billboard,” while the other “would revise the required warning labels that marijuana businesses must put on their products, to say that marijuana use during pregnancy could result in ‘congenital anomalies, and inherited cancers developed by a child later in life.’”

The station reported that the proposed ban on advertising “drew opposition from marijuana businesses and from the Montana Newspaper Association,” with opponents saying that “most people in the industry have gone to great lengths to make sure their advertising follows the current rules, and most of the issues people are concerned about have come from a few bad actors.”

There have been debates over other cannabis bills, too, including one that “would require marijuana growers and manufacturers of marijuana products to install air filtration systems to address concerns about odor,” according to KTVH, as well as several proposed bills to change how the state distributes the marijuana tax revenue.

“In particular, they propose removing a section in state law that directs a percentage of taxes from marijuana sales toward Habitat Montana – a program that uses state funds for wildlife habitat conservation projects. Gov. Greg Gianforte has said the program has more than enough funding and no longer needs the marijuana revenue,” the station reported.

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Montana’s Best Dispensaries

We’ve highlighted a select few of some of the best dispensaries in Montana. What makes them the best? Some are the biggest; some are the most consistent; and some grow small batch craft—but all focus on both quality of the plant and education of the patient and consumer.

Lionheart Cannabis

Bozeman, Livingston, Butte, Helena, Missoula, Kalispell, Great Falls + Billings

Founded in Bozeman in 2007, Lionheart takes pride in providing customers with quality products, service and care. For over 15 years CEO Christopher Fanuzzi has been an industry leader, cultivating fine cannabis strains; lobbying for medical and adult use legalization; and innovating industry and business development. Lionheart is the home of the original Montana Silvertip. “Quality, Consistency, Compassion” is their motto!

“It is of utmost importance that every customer finds on our shelves the right cannabis products that work well for them. That’s why we have some of the best selection in Montana,” Fanuzzi says. “I invite you to come visit our full-service dispensaries in Bozeman, Livingston, Butte, Helena, Missoula, Kalispell, Great Falls and Billings, and enjoy our new low prices and exceptional quality and variety.”

All new customers receive 20% off their first order and a penny pre-roll. Join their Loyalty rewards program to get huge savings and earn nugbucks on every purchase!

lionheartcannabis.com 406-586-2837(BUDS)

Bloom Montana

21+ locations across Montana

Bloom Montana strives to make every customer’s experience as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. Their qualified and attentive staff will answer any questions you may have.

Whether you’re an old school consumer, or this is your first time trying cannabis, Bloom wants to help you. Bloom proudly serves Montanans and visitors all over the state. With over 21 locations to choose from, you can find their products in all four corners of Montana.

In addition to a rewards program for medical patients, Bloom dispensaries also offer a 10% discount to military veterans as well as all current members of the US Armed Forces. Contact your local shop to find out more about Bloom Montana’s rewards programs. bloommt.com



One of Montana’s favorite cannabis brands, Cloud works hard to elevate the customer’s experience through quality, consistency and education.

Cloud is currently one of Montana’s top brands and is proud to partner with the number one brand of infused beverages, Sinful. Cloud has more than 150 in-house strains and continues to mine the biology of our beloved cannabis plant for the best of the best to serve their customers. Cloud is one of the only cannabis companies in the state to package their products in fully biodegradable plant-based plastic mylar.

Cloud is truly focused on you, the customer—the ones who propel this industry forward and give them a reason to do what they do. Cloud always has you covered. cloudcana.com

Sacred Sun Farms


Sacred Sun Farms is a company that was founded by four friends who are passionate about the environment, community, and access to cannabis. It is now a community of professionals who provide Clean Green CertifiedⓇ medicinal cannabis, extractions and infused products to anyone over the age of 21 and to patients of the Montana Medical Marijuana Program. The team at Sacred Sun Farms is committed to sustainability and operates as a circular economy. In addition, they are deeply connected to the communities they serve and engage in various fundraising and support efforts, including direct donations from sales. sacredsunfarms.org 406-624-6298

Euphoria Wellness

Bozeman, Butte, Missoula + Hamilton

Euphoria Wellness is a full-service cannabis dispensary that has been serving the Montana community since 2008. The dispensary operates in Gallatin County, Butte-Silver Bow County, Missoula County and Ravalli County. Euphoria Wellness is now offering recreational sales as well. The staff prides themselves on their carefully monitored cultivation processes, and the quality of the products they’re producing to share with patients and adult-use customers.

Euphoria Wellness offers a rotation of 40+ unique varieties of strains to suit a plethora of health concerns and customer needs. They also sell edibles, concentrates, topicals, paraphernalia and so much more. All of their products are vigorously tested by the state certified laboratories to ensure a safe and compliant product. euphoriawellnessmt.com

Greener Pastures

Bozeman, Big Sky, Missoula

Greener Pastures is a craft cannabis company that grows, processes, packages and sells flower, delectable edibles and concentrates while providing a luxurious, high-end experience. The business believes in providing a first-class experience at all touch points, including quality of their products, employee performance, customer service and professionalism at all of their stores.

Upon entering the dispensary, customers are greeted with a boutique-like atmosphere and top-notch customer service. The location itself is clean, safe and modern, and the staff at Greener Pastures is dedicated to helping patients discover the healing properties of marijuana through the use of potent and effective products. Whether for medical or recreational purposes, Greener Pastures strives to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all of its customers. greenerpastures.com 406-599-0923

Double Dogs

Big Sky, Bozeman, Missoula + Sydney

Established in 2016, Double Dogs has taken pride in delivering the highest quality cannabis products to Montanans. The craft cannabis company is powered by sustainable soil use, true organic growing techniques and the passion of their team. Double Dogs represents a genuine desire to thrive in life and enhance one’s experiences on every spectrum. Consistency and flavor has always been a top priority for all of their products. From cultivation to consumer, Double Dogs Cannabis has a higher standard in mind. The team’s love for the outdoors and close community gives them the opportunity to grow in the great state of Montana. ddcanna.com 406-371-9131

Natural Wellness

Butte, Lewistown, Belgrade + Helena

Natural Wellness was founded in 2017 with the goal of providing people with natural, non-pharmaceutical options for pain relief and overall wellness. The company offers a range of high quality, recreational and medical Montana-made products, including THC and full-spectrum CBD concentrates, vapes, flower, and edibles. Natural Wellness has five convenient locations in Butte, Lewistown, Belgrade and Helena, where their knowledgeable and friendly staff is available to assist with any questions about the Montana Medical or Recreational Marijuana Program. 406-513-1460

The Higher Standard

Helena, Butte + Missoula

Known for their wide selection of flowers, edibles, concentrates, equipment and accessories, The Higher Standard has been serving the Montana community since 2006. It was founded by a family friend who was diagnosed with cancer and saw a need for access to medical marijuana for patients in the area. The dispensary started out small, operating out of a broom closet and delivering directly to a small group of patients.

The staff are always happy to help customers find what they need or recommend something new. In addition, the dispensary takes pride in its in-house cultivation and manufacturing. With locations in Helena, Butte and Missoula, The Higher Standard is able to serve a wide area of Montana.

thehigherstandard406.com 406-459-2571

Herbaceous, Inc.

Butte, Big Sky, Bozeman

Founded in 2017, Herbaceous is a Montana family-owned dispensary with three locations, including the flagship storefront in Butte, a shop in Big Sky and a new dispensary in Bozeman. With deep roots and decades of cannabis experience, Herbaceous grows hand-trimmed, slow-cured artisanal quality flower with love and care on a local Montana farm.

From seed to sale, Herbaceous also manufactures concentrates and edibles and is committed to top quality products that customers across the state love. Dispensaries offer a variety of products with an exceptional, one-stop shopping opportunity. Herbaceous puts customers first and is committed to the experience each person has as they walk through the door. You’re invited to come into Herbaceous and enjoy the freshly harvested bounty!

herbaceousinc.com 406-995-4444

The post Montana’s Best Dispensaries appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Montana Tops $200 Million in First Year of Recreational Pot Sales

Montana raked in more than $200 million in its first year of recreational cannabis sales, the state reported this week.

The Montana Department of Revenue released figures detailing how much money was generated in both medical and recreational marijuana sales in 2022.

Last year marked the launch of the state’s recreational marijuana market. Voters there legalized medical cannabis in 2004. 

The Department of Revenue said that adult-use marijuana sales totaled $202,947,328 in 2022, while medical cannabis sales amounted to $93,616,551.

The two combined to generate a grand total of $303,563,879 in marijuana sales last year. 

Montana generated $41,989,466 in tax revenue off recreational pot sales, according to the Department of Revenue, and $3,744,662 in taxes from medical cannabis sales. Combined, the state pulled in $45,734,128 in tax revenue from marijuana sales in 2022. 

The state levies a 20% take on recreational pot sales, and a 4% tax on medical marijuana.

The Department of Revenue said all figures were estimates. 

Voters in Montana approved a ballot measure in 2020 to legalize recreational cannabis, one of four states that year where voters passed legalization proposals. The law took effect in 2021.

 “Since January, we’ve been focused on implementing the will of Montana voters in a safe, responsible, and appropriately regulated manner. House Bill 701 accomplishes this,” Gov. Greg Gianforte said in May of 2021, as quoted by local news station KTVH. “From the start, I’ve been clear that we need to bring more resources … to combat the drug epidemic that’s devastating our communities.”

Chief among Gianforte’s concerns with the new law was the creation of the HEART Fund, which subsidizes substance abuse treatment in Montana with revenue from recreational marijuana sales. 

“Funding a full continuum of substance abuse prevention and treatment programs for communities, the HEART Fund will offer new support to Montanans who want to get clean, sober, and healthy,” Gianforte said after signing the bill into law in 2021, as quoted by KTVH.

As in other states that have ended the prohibition on pot use for adults, Montana’s new law contains a component to redress harms that have resulted from the War on Drugs. 

The law “authorizes courts to either resentence or expunge marijuana offenses now considered legal or lesser offenses, but does not enact an automatic expungement process,” according to Montana Free Press, but the “the expungement policy has faced criticism as cumbersome and unclear.”

In March of last year, the state Supreme Court issued temporary rules intended to help clarify the expungement application procedure.

The law says that “anyone convicted of an offense that would now be legal in the state can petition to have their conviction removed from their record, get a lesser sentence for it or reclassify it to a lesser offense,” according to the Missoula Current.

The biggest clarification issued by the Montana Supreme Court, the Missoula Current noted, was to inform individuals that “they could submit their expungement request to the court where they were originally sentenced.”

After President Joe Biden issued pardons to everyone with a federal conviction for marijuana possession in October of last year, he encouraged all states to follow his lead. 

A spokesperson for Gianforte told the Montana Free Press at the time that the “governor will continue to evaluate clemencies submitted through the Board of Pardons and Parole on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with [state] statute.”

The post Montana Tops $200 Million in First Year of Recreational Pot Sales appeared first on High Times.

Cops May Soon Be Able To Scan Your Eyeballs To See if You’re Driving Stoned

A Montana-based company called Gaize has developed a device which can scan the user’s eye and utilize crazy futuristic robot intelligence to detect THC impairment.

According to the company’s founder, Ken Fichtler, American law enforcement agencies have already agreed to use the technology, though he could not specify which ones. 

“I’ll preface all of this by saying I am pro cannabis. I’m pro cannabis legalization. I’m doing this because I see a distinct need at the federal level to have some product to detect impairment so we can keep roads safe,” Fichtler said.

The device is akin to a virtual reality headset of sorts that a police officer would hypothetically place on the head of a driver suspected of reefer smoking. It shrouds the suspect in darkness for a few moments before shining a bright light to electronically scan the movement of the suspect’s eyeballs.

“The eyes are the window to the soul. The eyes offer a remarkably clear picture into the mental state of a person. They’re full of involuntary micro-movements and reflex responses that transmit information about someone’s impairment or sobriety,” the Gaize website states.

According to Fichtler, the scan cannot be used as evidence in court, much like a traditional breathalyzer, but police officers can use it in the field if they suspect someone is high so as to take their own bias or out of the equation completely. Gaize cannot yet quantify impairment like a traditional breathalyzer does, but it can essentially indicate if the person is intoxicated enough for their eye to respond to stimulus differently than it normally would.

“You can’t simply measure THC and say, ‘Yeah, okay, this guy’s high because he’s got five nanograms of THC in his body,’ right? It just doesn’t work that way,” Fichtler said. “What we’re doing is actually directly measuring how impairment manifests in the body, which I think is a much more rational, measured and fair path forward.”

Fichtler said the test is based on several different studies which have spanned the last 40 years, including a 350-participant clinical trial Gaize conducted themselves. A cursory search of “how cannabis affects eye movement” does indeed show several peer-reviewed studies on the matter dating back to at least 1979. As with most scientific studies there’s a lot of room for misinterpretation or error but try as I might I could not find much to dispute the science behind this technology. It turns out eyeballs are just dirty little snitches that will sell stoners out at every turn.

“There’s a lot of changes that happen and a lot of them happen at a scale that a human couldn’t necessarily see unless they were looking really close or even using a magnifying glass or something. Our product is sensitive enough that we can detect these really minute changes,” Fichtler said.

Fichtler did make a point of saying Gaize will not be selling the technology arbitrarily to be used for nefarious purposes but if you work a dangerous job or like to get high on your morning commute, you may find yourself staring into the bright light of a Gaize headset soon. 

Fichtler was not able to provide High Times with an estimated date that law enforcement agencies might begin to roll out the use of these headsets but for what it’s worth he seemed to speak with the voice of a man who had signed one or more non-disclosure agreements, rather than a man waiting for orders to start coming in.

“It’s being evaluated by some really high profile departments,” Fichtler said. “They haven’t all adopted it yet, but some have. My hope is that within a couple of years, maybe this is sort of standard practice.”

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