Is weed legal in Montana?
Yes. Since January 1, 2021, Montana residents age 21 and older have been allowed to possess, use, and grow up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana. Sales won’t begin until January 1, 2022; even then, it will only be in counties where a majority of the voters supported legalization. Medical marijuana was already legal for patients with a qualifying condition and a state-issued medical marijuana ID card.
Possession of more than 1 ounce (28 grams) of cannabis or 8 grams of concentrate is a felony punishable by up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000.
Montana was an early adopter of legislation allowing the use of medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions. In 2004, the Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance initiative, or I-148, passed with nearly 62% approval. Lawmakers sought to repeal it in 2011, but Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed the measure.
Later that year, the state Senate was able to enact stringent conditions on medical marijuana with Senate Bill 423, the Montana Marijuana Act. Key provisions of SB 423 were challenged in court until August 2016, when the Montana Supreme Court upheld most of the law’s provisions.
Three months later, voters approved the Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative, or I-182. The initiative removed many of the stricter requirements of SB 423 and added chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as qualifying conditions. In 2017, the Legislature made additional changes with SB 333, which created more detailed regulations, allowed additional chemical manufacturing of marijuana products, and added a tax on gross sales.
Montana I-190, the Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative, was approved by voters on November 3, 2020. It legalized the possession and use of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana with no more than 8 grams in concentrate form for adults age 21 and older. It also imposed a 20% sales tax on cannabis and called for the possible expungement or resentencing for cannabis-related crimes.
Where is it safe to purchase cannabis?
When registering, cardholders must choose to either purchase cannabis or grow their own. Under Montana law, usable marijuana includes flower, resin, concentrate, and infused products. Registered patients who have not chosen to grow their own supply can purchase cannabis from a dispensary or have marijuana delivered by registered providers. Cardholders can purchase up to 5 ounces of usable marijuana a month but no more than 1 ounce per day. They can petition the Medical Marijuana Program to purchase more each month if their physician agrees.
Legal sales for recreational use don’t begin until January 1, 2022, in counties where a majority of the voters chose legalization in the 2020 election.
Finding licensed dispensaries in Montana
Medical marijuana cardholders can find licensed dispensaries in Montana and search by major metro areas including Billings and Missoula.
Where is it safe to consume?
Registered patients and adults 21 and older can consume their cannabis in private. Consumption is not allowed on any school grounds, including buses, or on the grounds of any place of worship or correctional facility. Operating a vehicle, aircraft, or boat while under the influence is illegal.
When patients sign up for medical marijuana cards, they must choose a provider (dispensary) or commit to growing their own supply of cannabis. A registered patient who has not listed a provider may possess up to 1 ounce of usable cannabis as well as four mature plants, 12 seedlings, and any cannabis from those plants including concentrates made from them.
Adults 21 and older can possess and use up to 1 ounce of cannabis or up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates in private.
Medical Marijuana Program
The Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) oversees the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. Its website includes information and registration portals for cardholders, providers, physicians, labs, and dispensaries.
All applications are submitted online via the Complia Industry Portal. As part of the application, patients will choose whether they intend to purchase cannabis or grow it for themselves.
Applications must include:
- Passport-style color photo
- Copy of government-issued ID (or legal guardian’s ID in case of minors)
- Signed physician form
- Signed landlord permission form for home cultivation, if applicable
- $30 processing fee
Cards are good for one year or less if recommended by the patient’s physician.
Current qualifying conditions are:
- Admittance into hospice care
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Central nervous system disorder resulting in chronic, painful muscle spasms
- Chronic pain that is persistent and significantly interferes with daily activities
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or other intractable seizure disorder
- HIV/AIDS when it results in symptoms that seriously affect the patient’s health
- Intractable nausea or vomiting
- Multiple sclerosis
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Legal protections are only provided for patients with Montana ID cards.
Each batch of flower, concentrate, or marijuana-infused product must be tested at a state-approved lab for:
- Cannabinoids and potency
- Foreign matter
- Heavy metals
- Moisture content
- Residual solvents