HB 701 reworked much of the tax revenue allocations and left others untouched. Zabawa maintained in a phone interview Friday he believed voters were “tricked” into approving the initiative to fund outdoors and conservation efforts, but he was confident in the regulations the Legislature installed with HB 701.
“It seems like everything is side-boarded,” he said. “I think we’re ready to move on to the next chapter.”
Zabawa said a number of options lay ahead for his effort, be it new legislation or another ballot initiative. Indeed, the main page on Wrong for Montana’s website bears a forward-looking message, “Let’s make 2023 the year we rectify the great wrong of 2020.”
The state Attorney General’s Office first motioned the court to dismiss the case in late May, saying the case was moot because HB 701 had effectively replaced I-190. New Approach Montana, the legalization campaign effort whose officers have since formed the Montana Cannabis Guild, joined the AG’s Office with its own motion to dismiss days later.
“The lawsuit never had any merit in the first place,” said J.D. “Pepper” Petersen, president and chief executive officer of the Montana Cannabis Guild, a cannabis trade association. “I don’t put any merit in anything Zabawa says, ever.”