I hope everybody stayed warm over the frigid weekend. Christmas is almost here. In the meantime, stay up to date with the latest Beacon news.
Medical Marijuana Businesses Getting Back on Track
With the passage of ballot initiative I-182 and a subsequent Dec. 7 court ruling putting the law into effect, the state Department of Public Health and Human Services has reported receiving about 1,300 applications for medical marijuana cards. As of November, Flathead County had 894 cardholders and 78 providers.
The surge is a boon for medical marijuana businesses, many of which had been forced to close following a 2011 law passed by the state Legislature that placed a three-patient limit on dispensaries. The latest initiative rolls back those restrictions.
Transportation Project Delays Could Have Major Impact on Contractors
The state’s roadways could be a lot quieter next spring after the Montana Department of Transportation announced that it would delay awarding road construction contracts worth more than $127 million until at least May.
Gov. Steve Bullock is proposing the delay to help cover a shortfall in the 2017 budget, but transportation and infrastructure advocates say the decision to postpone road projects could have major repercussions for the state economy.
Montana's Preschool Push
As Dillon Tabish writes in his story, “Montana is one of five states without state-funded preschool, yet efforts have gained momentum in recent years to provide free early education opportunities, particularly in communities with a significant percentage of lower-income families.”
Montana has so far received $30 million of a $40 million four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to develop preschool programs, including some in Northwest Montana. Last week, Hedges Elementary School opened the first public preschool site in Kalispell’s school district.