HELENA, MT— The Montana Chamber of Commerce (Montana Chamber) is dedicated to ensuring the opportunity for business growth and prosperity by improving Montana’s business climate, talent pipeline, and entrepreneurship through workforce development.
The Montana Chamber has carefully considered the implications of the I-190 initiative, also known as Montana Marijuana Regulation & Taxation Act. Upon doing so, its Board of Directors voted last week to oppose the initiative’s passage this fall.
Legalizing recreational use of marijuana could have devastating effects on Montana’s strained workforce. “We know Montana businesses were turning down growth opportunities earlier this year due to the inability to recruit a trained, motivated, and appropriately educated workforce,” said Montana Chamber President and CEO, Todd O’Hair. “Despite higher than normal unemployment rates in Montana due to COVID-19, the underlying challenges to recruiting and retaining a quality workforce remain. Legalizing recreational marijuana seems to add another layer to the challenge.”
The Workforce Employer Needs survey conducted by the Montana Chamber in late 2019 received over 800 responses from businesses and industry leaders across the state. Data revealed that 36% of the respondents turned down business growth opportunities due to concerns about filling necessary labor requirements.
Studies consistently show marijuana users have significantly lower levels of commitment to their work than non-users and are more absent.1 The Montana Chamber is concerned that the passage of I-190 could impact an already tight labor market.
Therefore, we oppose the I-190 initiative, and its companion constitutional amendment that will appear on the ballot this fall.
As the leading business advocate, the Montana Chamber of Commerce envisions a business climate that is optimal for Montana prosperity.
Media contact: Kimberly Casey Communications & Marketing Manager (C) 406-437-4634 or [email protected]
1 Smart Approaches to Marijuana, Marijuana and the Workplace [Study on commitment: National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2014)] (Accessed September 9, 2020)