I’m a senior citizen who is very alarmed that Americans are losing the promise of government by the people, for the people. Lately, some elected officials behave as if they know better than the public who elected them, which is blatantly undemocratic. This is ironic considering that most U.S. citizens can access nearly all human knowledge via their phone or internet. The public today is the most informed voters in history (if they avoid disinformation or coercion), yet our “leaders” increasingly betray the will of the people. This erosion of democracy should never be tolerated.
One of many examples of this “minority rule” is the ballot initiative I-190 to legalize recreational marijuana, which Montanans voted overwhelmingly to pass in November 2020. Understand that I am not attempting to change your mind on marijuana. My point is that when voters speak, our elected officials should honor the results.
Specifically, I’m promoting the 20% tax on I-190 revenues to conserve Montana’s natural heritage. Most Montanans value of the ecosystems that sustain us and demand wise stewardship of public lands; not only for us, but also for our growing outdoor recreation tourism industry that contributes $2.5 billion annually and employs over 31,000 people. In 2019, the Montana Outdoor Heritage Project found that 83% of Montanans support increased funding for wildlife, working lands, and outdoor recreation. I-190 revenue should be used as intended to enhance public access, conserve habitats, and boost funding for State Parks and trails. From a purely business perspective, this provides an impressive return on our investment. From a resource conservation perspective, this investment is indispensable.
I urge Gov. Greg Gianforte and the Legislature to honor the will of the voters and sustain the original intent of I-190 and its designated income stream. Please be sure to tell your elected officials.
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