5 Essential Cannabis Laws in Montana That You Should Be Aware Of!

For quite some time now, Montana has enforced laws pertaining to marijuana. It all began with the legalization of medical marijuana in 2004. However, it was a struggle to obtain medical marijuana due to years of fighting. Nevertheless, the residents of Montana came together and passed I-190 in 2020, which made it possible for people to use marijuana. Unfortunately, the state assembly passed House Bill 701 in April 2021, which altered certain aspects of the previously agreed-upon bill by the voters.

On January 1, 2022, the “Montana Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act,” created by HB 701, went into effect. If you’re looking for information on Montana’s cannabis laws, look no further. This post outlines the regulations for both medical and recreational use.

Montana Marijuana Laws At A Glance

    • According to Montana state law, dispensaries are required to track inventory, transfers, and sales in Metrc — Montana’s official seed-to-sale tracking system.
    • Consumers 21 and older can purchase and possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana, except that not more than 8 grams may be in a concentrated form and not more than 800 milligrams of THC may be in edible marijuana products.
    • Medical marijuana delivery is allowed in Montana, per Mont. Admin. R. 42.39.413.
    • Registered medical marijuana cardholders can purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana flower, or its equivalents.
    • Medical marijuana purchases are taxed at 4% of retail sales, and recreational purchases are taxed at 20% of retail sales.
    • Local jurisdictions can add an additional tax of no more than 3%.

Law #1: Dispensary Licensing

Section 5 of the law permits shops to obtain licenses.

If the proposed dispensary is located in a county where most voters did not support Initiative Measure No. 190 during the November 3, 2020, general election, the applicant must demonstrate compliance with the local government approval requirements specified in 16-12-301, unless otherwise indicated in 16-12-201(2).

As part of the application process, the department is responsible for ensuring that every proposed or renewed dispensary adheres to the regulations outlined in both 16-12-207 and 16-12-210.

If the same person runs both businesses, a licensee for a medical marijuana dispensary and a licensee for an adult-use dispensary can share a space.

Individuals who possess a legitimate medical marijuana card are the only ones who can purchase marijuana, marijuana-based products, and live marijuana plants from medical marijuana dispensaries.

Adult-use dispensaries are authorized to sell marijuana, marijuana products, and live marijuana plants to approved cardholders and customers.

When applying for a drugstore license or renewing it, a fee must be charged by the department. The dispensary license fee for each site that a licensee operates as either an adult-use dispensary or a medical marijuana dispensary is $5,000.

The department has the authority to establish regulations for inspecting proposed dispensaries, examining the finances of applicants or owners, and determining or restricting the amount of THC in marijuana or marijuana products that can be sold in either an adult-use dispensary or a medical marijuana dispensary. It’s worth noting that the price and regulation of marijuana and marijuana products sold at a dispensary are determined by the amount of THC, not their weight. As per the law, a single package may only contain one ounce of usable marijuana sold as a flower or any other item listed in part (8)(c).

Marijuana flowers contain a maximum of 35% psychoactive THC. When it comes to capsule-based marijuana products, each capsule should not exceed 100 mg of THC, and the total THC content per box must not go beyond 800 mg. For marijuana tinctures, the THC levels should not exceed 800 milligrams. As for marijuana treats or food products, the THC levels should not exceed 100 milligrams, and the maximum amount of THC in a single dose for an edible marijuana product is 10 milligrams.

When it comes to topical marijuana products, the concentration of THC should not exceed 6%. Additionally, the maximum amount of THC allowed per package is 800 milligrams. On the other hand, for suppositories and transdermal patches, the THC concentration should not be higher than 100 milligrams per patch or suppository. The allowed maximum amount of THC per package remains the same at 800 milligrams.

The THC concentration for all other marijuana products must not exceed 800 milligrams. However, a dispensary is authorized to sell marijuana or marijuana products with higher THC levels to registered users. It is strictly prohibited for a licensee or employee to facilitate a transaction that grants a customer or listed cardholder access to quantities beyond what is permitted by section 16 and 16-12-106.

Understanding Dispensary Licensing:

Aspiring entrepreneurs looking to enter the cannabis industry may find themselves overwhelmed with the process of obtaining a dispensary license. But understanding the basics of dispensary licensing can make the process easier to navigate.

To begin, it’s important to note that dispensary licensing requirements vary by state. Each state has its own regulations and process for obtaining a license. However, most states require applicants to meet certain criteria, such as age and residency, and undergo a background check.

Applicants must also provide detailed business plans, which should include information on the dispensary’s location, products to be sold, and security measures. Additionally, applicants may need to demonstrate financial stability and provide proof of insurance.

Once an application is submitted, it will be reviewed by the state regulatory agency. If the application is approved, the dispensary must then comply with ongoing regulations and inspections to maintain its license.

Overall, obtaining a dispensary license can be a complex process, but with thorough research and careful planning, entrepreneurs can successfully navigate the process and open a successful cannabis dispensary.

Previously, the responsibility of licensing medical marijuana doctors and dispensaries in Montana rested with the Department of Public Health and Human Services. However, this task has now been transferred to the Montana Department of Revenue.

The Department of Revenue administers the adult-use program as a distinct program.

To obtain a license in Montana, there are certain things that you should be aware of.

    • Any medical dispensary licensed prior to November 2020, who is also in good standing with the state, can apply for a recreational license. Good standing refers to no infractions by state inspectors and also paid to date on state, personal, MJ, and income taxes.
    • Dispensaries can’t be located within a city, town, or country that prohibits medical marijuana use, or within 500 feet of any place of worship, school, or post-secondary school.
    • The fee for an adult-use or medical marijuana dispensary license is $5,000 per location.

Law #2: Purchase And Possession Limits

If you’re 21 or older, you are allowed to engage in certain activities related to marijuana as long as they don’t violate any state or local laws. These activities cannot be used as a basis for fines, punishments, arrests, or the loss of rights, privileges, or property. Additionally, they must not be considered an offense under state or local laws. This is all outlined in the Adult-Use Law, specifically in section 16-12-106, which covers penalties for personal use and production of marijuana.

Individuals are allowed to possess, purchase, obtain, use, ingest, inhale or transport up to 1 ounce of usable marijuana. However, it should be noted that concentrated forms should not exceed 8 grams, and edible products meant to be eaten or swallowed in solid should not contain more than 800 milligrams of THC.

The act of giving away or disseminating, without receiving anything in return, up to 1 ounce of usable marijuana to an individual who is at least 21 years old is allowed. However, it is important to note that no more than 8 grams can be in concentrated form, and edible marijuana products meant to be eaten or swallowed in solid form cannot contain more than 800 milligrams of THC.

As a registered cardholder, you are allowed to possess, plant or cultivate up to two mature marijuana plants and two seedlings, or four mature marijuana plants and four seedlings on the grounds of a private residence. You are also allowed to harvest, dry, process or manufacture the marijuana. However, any marijuana produced by the plants in excess of 1 ounce must be kept in a locked space in or on the grounds of a private residence and should not be visible from a public place. Additionally, you are not allowed to have more than twice the number of marijuana plants permitted under this subsection.

According to subsection (1)(c), an individual is allowed to cultivate marijuana at a single private residence at the same time. However, it is mandatory for the person growing or storing the marijuana plants to either be the owner of the private residence or obtain written consent from the owner. Additionally, it is strictly prohibited to share, rent, or lease any part of the private residence used for marijuana cultivation or manufacturing with any marijuana business for personal use.

According to the laws related to medicine, specifically 16-12-515, registered cardholders who opt to acquire marijuana and its products from licensed manufacturers, growers, or dispensaries are entitled to some legal protections. They are permitted to keep up to one ounce of usable marijuana on hand and purchase a maximum of five ounces of usable marijuana in a month. However, they cannot buy more than one ounce of usable marijuana in a single day.

In case a cardholder listed in the system wishes to exceed the monthly purchase limit, they have the option to request an exception from the department. However, the request must be accompanied by a valid certification from the cardholder’s doctor, explicitly stating that the cardholder’s medical condition necessitates additional spending beyond the monthly limit. If the department approves the request, they will specify the amount of usable marijuana the cardholder can purchase per month. This limit will then be added to the system that monitors the entire marijuana supply chain.

Purchase limits Explained:

    • Eight grams of marijuana concentrate
    • 800 milligrams of THC-infused products or edibles
    • 8 grams or 8ml of THC in marijuana concentrate
    • For marijuana sold as a flower, 1 ounce of usable marijuana. The total potential psychoactive THC of marijuana flower may not exceed 35%.
    • For capsules – no more than 100 milligrams of THC per capsule and no more than 800 milligrams of THC per package.
    • For tincture – no more than 800 milligrams of THC.
    • For edibles or food products – no more than 100 milligrams of THC. A single serving of an edible marijuana product may not exceed 10 milligrams of THC.
    • For a topical product – a concentration of no more than 6% THC and no more than 800 milligrams of THC per package.
    • For suppository or transdermal patch – no more than 100 milligrams of THC per suppository or transdermal patch and no more than 800 milligrams of THC per package.
    • Any other marijuana product – no more than 800 milligrams of THC.

Law #3: Packaging And Labels

Dispensary Packaging Explained:

    • Strain name
    • The common or usual name of the marijuana product (e.g., flower, inhaled extract, edible, cookie, or drinkable, topical, transdermal patch)
    • The name of the marijuana dispensary that sold the product and the license number or numbers of the cultivator and manufacturer, as applicable
    • The unique identification number generated from the seed-to-sale tracking system
    • Date of harvest for marijuana flower or date of manufacture for marijuana products
    • In addition to weight or fluid measure, a licensee shall include the number of servings in the net quantity of contents statement if the product is a multi-serving marijuana product
    • “Keep out of reach of children and pets”
    • “This product may be addictive”
    • “This product may have intoxicating effects. Do not drive while under the influence of marijuana.”
    • Marijuana or marijuana product labeling shall not contain any statement or information that is false or misleading.

Law #4: Taxes

    • Medical marijuana purchases are taxed at 4% of retail sales.
    • Adult-use cannabis is taxed at 20% of retail sales.
    • Local jurisdictions can add an additional tax of no more than 3%.

Law #5: Patients And Caregivers

    • Epilepsy or an intractable seizure disorder
    • Glaucoma
    • Intractable nausea or vomiting
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Painful peripheral neuropathy
    • Positive status for HIV or AIDS
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Severe chronic pain
    • Admittance into hospice care in accordance with department rules
    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
    • Cancer
    • Central nervous system disorder resulting in chronic, painful spasticity or muscle spasms
    • Crohn’s disease
    • At least 18 years of age (minors must complete a separate form)
    • Diagnosed with one of the aforementioned qualifying medical conditions
    • Resident in the state of Montana
    • First, make an appointment with a physician to get a signed recommendation.
    • Decide whether you want to receive your marijuana from a provider or grow it yourself (you have to indicate this on the form).
    • Next, complete the Montana Medical Marijuana Program Application form and send it in, including a copy of your state-issued ID or driver’s license. The patient registry fee is $30.

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MBS Staff
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