New Approach Montana, a group that wants adult-use cannabis on the ballot, has tried to collect digital signatures for a recreational marijuana legalization campaign but will now begin collecting signatures in person while following strict public health protocols.

New Approach Montana plans to start the signature drive May 9 and hopes to collect the necessary 25,468 signatures by the July 17 deadline to place a commercial adult-use cannabis legalization proposal on the ballot in November.

The ballot initiative would allow the sale of smokable flower would be permitted. Products would be required to be tested for potency and contaminants. The state Department of Revenue would license and regulate the industry, with applications beginning by Oct. 1, 2021. A 20% retail tax would also be assessed on adult-use products.

“As our state reopens for business, we must also reopen for democracy,” said Pepper Petersen, political director for New Approach Montana.

Peterson said they would take a “very conservative and cautious approach” that includes providing disposable single-use gloves to individuals signing the petition and observing a 6-foot social distance when the petitions are in the process of being signed.

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