5 Montana Cannabis Laws You Must Know

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Montana has a long history of legal cannabis, starting in 2004 with medical. But then years of back-and-forth made medical marijuana harder to get.

In 2020, voters approved Montana I-190 to legalize recreational cannabis. The state legislature then passed House Bill 701 in April 2021 which altered several aspects of the voter-approved measure. Under HB 701, the recreational law “Montana Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act” became effective on January 1, 2022.

In this post, you’ll get the rundown on everything you need to know about Montana cannabis laws.

You can find the full medical and recreational regulations here.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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

Legal reference

Section 5. Licensing of dispensaries. (1) Except as provided in 16-12-201(2), an applicant for a dispensary license shall demonstrate that the local government approval provisions in 16-12-301 have been satisfied in the jurisdiction where each proposed dispensary is located if the proposed dispensary would be located in a county in which the majority of voters voted against approval of Initiative Measure No. 190 in the November 3, 2020, general election. (2) When evaluating an initial or renewal application, the department shall evaluate each proposed dispensary for compliance with the provisions of 16-12-207 and 16-12-210. (3) An adult-use dispensary licensee may operate at a shared location with a medical marijuana dispensary if the adult-use dispensary and medical marijuana dispensary are owned by the same person. (4) A medical marijuana dispensary is authorized to sell exclusively to registered cardholders marijuana, marijuana products, and live marijuana plants. (5) An adult-use dispensary is authorized to sell marijuana, marijuana products, and live marijuana plants to consumers or registered cardholders. (6) The department shall charge a dispensary license fee for an initial application and at each renewal. The dispensary license fee is $5,000 for each location that a licensee operates as an adult-use dispensary or a medical marijuana dispensary. (7) The department may adopt rules: (a) for inspection of proposed dispensaries; (b) for investigating owners or applicants for a determination of financial interest; and (c) establishing or limiting the THC content of the marijuana or marijuana products that may be sold at an adult-use dispensary or medical marijuana dispensary. (8) (a) Marijuana and marijuana products sold at a dispensary are regulated and sold on the basis of the concentration of THC in the products and not by weight. (b) Except as provided in subsection (8)(c), for purposes of this chapter, a single package is limited to: (i) for marijuana sold as flower, 1 ounce of usable marijuana. The total potential psychoactive THC of marijuana flower may not exceed 35%. (ii) for a marijuana product sold as a capsule, no more than 100 milligrams of THC per capsule and no more than 800 milligrams of THC per package. (iii) for a marijuana product sold as a tincture, no more than 800 milligrams of THC; (iv) for a marijuana product sold as an edible or a food product, no more than 100 milligrams of THC. A single serving of an edible marijuana product may not exceed 10 milligrams of THC. (v) for a marijuana product sold as a topical product, a concentration of no more than 6% THC and no more than 800 milligrams of THC per package; (vi) for a marijuana product sold as a 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; and (vii) for any other marijuana product, no more than 800 milligrams of THC. (c) A dispensary may sell marijuana or marijuana products having higher THC potency levels than described in subsection (8) to registered cardholders. (9) A licensee or employee is prohibited from conducting a transaction that would result in a consumer or registered cardholder exceeding the personal possession amounts set forth in 16-12-106 and [section 16].

Dispensary licensing explained:

The Montana Department of Revenue controls the licensing of medical marijuana providers and dispensaries in Montana (this used to be handled by the Department of Public Health and Human Services).

The adult-use program is a separate Department of Revenue program.

Here's what you need to know to get licensed in Montana:

  • 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.

  • The fee for an adult-use or medical marijuana dispensary license is $5,000 per location.

  • 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.

Law #2: Purchase and possession limits

Legal reference

Adult-Use Law: 16-12-106. Personal use and cultivation of marijuana--penalties

(1) Subject to the limitations in 16-12-108, the following acts are lawful and may not be an offense under state law or the laws of any local government within the state, be a basis to impose a civil fine, penalty, or sanction, or be a basis to detain, search, or arrest, or otherwise deny any right or privilege, or to seize or forfeit assets under state law or the laws of any local government for a person who is 21 years of age or older: (a) possessing, purchasing, obtaining, using, ingesting, inhaling, or transporting 1 ounce or less 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 meant to be eaten or swallowed in solid form; (b) transferring, delivering, or distributing without consideration, to a person who is 21 years of age or older, 1 ounce or less 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 meant to be eaten or swallowed in solid form; (c) in or on the grounds of a private residence, possessing, planting, or cultivating up to two mature marijuana plants and two seedlings, or four mature marijuana plants and four seedlings for a registered cardholder, and possessing, harvesting, drying, processing, or manufacturing the marijuana, provided that: (i) marijuana plants and any marijuana produced by the plants in excess of 1 ounce must be kept in a locked space in or on the grounds of one private residence and may not be visible by normal, unaided vision from a public place; (ii) not more than twice the number of marijuana plants permitted under this subsection (1)(c) may be cultivated in or on the grounds of a single private residence simultaneously; (iii) a person growing or storing marijuana plants under this subsection (1)(c) must own the private residence where the plants are cultivated and stored or obtain written permission to cultivate and store marijuana from the owner of the private residence; and (iv) no portion of a private residence used for cultivation of marijuana and manufacture of marijuana products for personal use may be shared with, rented, or leased to a marijuana business;

Medical Law: 16-12-515. Legal protections--allowable amounts (1)(a) A registered cardholder who has elected to obtain marijuana and marijuana products through the system of licensed cultivators, manufacturers, or dispensaries may: (i) possess up to 1 ounce of usable marijuana; and (ii) purchase a maximum of 5 ounces of usable marijuana a month and no more than 1 ounce of usable marijuana a day. (b)(i) A registered cardholder may petition the department for an exception to the monthly limit on purchases. The request must be accompanied by a confirmation from the physician who signed the cardholder's written certification that the cardholder's debilitating medical condition warrants purchase of an amount exceeding the monthly limit. (ii) If the department approves an exception to the limit, the approval must establish the monthly amount of usable marijuana that the cardholder may purchase and the limit must be entered into the seed-to-sale tracking system.

Purchase limits explained:

  • Registered medical marijuana patients and adult-use consumers can purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana flower, or its equivalents:
    • Eight grams of marijuana concentrate

    • 800 milligrams of THC-infused products or edibles

    • 8 grams or 8ml of THC in marijuana concentrate

  • Medical patients can purchase 5 ounces per month with a daily purchase limit of one ounce.

  • Recreational cannabis users can cultivate up to two mature marijuana plants and two seedlings in a private, locked area out of public view. Medical marijuana cardholders can cultivate up to four mature plants and four seedlings, also in a private, locked area out of public view

  • For adult-use consumers, marijuana products sold at a dispensary are regulated and sold on the basis of the concentration of the THC. An individual package is limited to:
    • For marijuana sold as 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 a food product - 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.

A registered cardholder may purchase or possess any combination of marijuana flower, marijuana-infused products, and marijuana concentrate if the total calculated conversion is equal to or less than the legal purchase or possession amount.

    Law #3: Packaging and labels

    Legal reference

    42.39.314. GENERAL LABELING REQUIREMENTS (1) Labeling requirements apply to marijuana and marijuana products sold from a dispensary to customers. A licensee that sells marijuana or marijuana products to other licensees is not required to comply with labeling requirements. (2) All information required on the label of marijuana or a marijuana product shall be: (a) unobstructed and conspicuous. A licensee may affix multiple labels to a package, or use a booklet, accordion, or other type of label, provided that no required information is completely and permanently obstructed; (b) displayed in a legible font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. The lowercase letter “o” must be at least one-sixteenth of an inch in height; (c) displayed in a color that contrasts conspicuously with the background; and (d) displayed in English, although a licensee may choose to display required information in additional languages. (3) All marijuana or marijuana products shall be labeled with the following information: (a) strain name; (b) the common or usual name of the marijuana product (e.g., flower, inhaled extract, edible, cookie, or drinkable, topical, transdermal patch); (c) the name of the marijuana dispensary that sold the product and the license number or numbers of the cultivator and manufacturer, as applicable; (d) the unique identification number generated from the seed-to-sale tracking system; (e) date of harvest for marijuana flower or date of manufacture for marijuana products; (f) the net quantity of contents of the marijuana product. The statement of quantity shall be: (i) stated in U.S. Customary Units and Metric (SI) Units, with the latter enclosed in parentheses; (ii) if the product is a liquid: (A) expressed in terms of fluid measure; and (B) preceded by the phrase “Net Contents” or “Net”; or (iii) if the product is a solid, semi-solid, or viscous: (A) expressed in terms of weight; and (B) preceded by the phrase “Net Weight,” the abbreviation “Nt. Wt.,” or “Net.” (iv) 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 (e.g., Net Weight: 2 oz. (56.7 g) (10 cookies)); (g) the following statement: “This product has been tested and meets the requirements of the state of Montana.” (h) a QR code that links to the product's certificate of analysis with a statement informing customers they can scan the code to see additional product information; (i) the universal symbol, available from the department's website. The universal symbol: (i) shall be at least .33 inches wide and .33 inches high; (ii) may be downloaded from the department's website; (4) All marijuana and marijuana products shall be labeled with the following warnings: (a) “Keep out of reach of children and pets”; (b) “This product may be addictive”; and (c) “This product may have intoxicating effects. Do not drive while under the influence of marijuana.” (5) Marijuana or marijuana product labeling shall not contain any statement or information that is false or misleading. (6) The label of manufactured marijuana products must identify the method of manufacturing (e.g., mechanical, chemical) and for chemical manufacturing must identify the solvent used in the manufacturing process. (7) Marijuana or marijuana products that, because of their size, do not have sufficient space for all of the information required for compliance with the Act and department rules may, if approved by the department pursuant to 16-12-208, MCA, display the information required in (3) in a legible font that does not meet the minimum size requirement established in (2)(b). (8) Marijuana or marijuana products in excess of the THC limits in 16-12-224, MCA, may only be sold to registered cardholders and must contain the following additional information: (a) “For medical use only”; and (b) “This product is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.” (9) Marijuana or marijuana products that do not require heat to administer or consume shall not have a total THC or total potential psychoactive THC value listed on the marijuana facts panel.

    Dispensary packaging explained:

    Cannabis labels must include the following information:

    • 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

    • The net quantity of contents of the marijuana product.
      • 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

    • The following statement: “This product has been tested and meets the requirements of the state of Montana.”

    • A QR code that links to the product's certificate of analysis with a statement informing customers they can scan the code to see additional product information;’

    • The universal symbol, available from the department's website.

    • All marijuana and marijuana products shall be labeled with the following warnings:
      • “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.

    • The label of manufactured marijuana products must identify the method of manufacturing (e.g., mechanical, chemical) and for chemical manufacturing must identify the solvent used in the manufacturing process.

    Marijuana products for final sale must be packaged in child-resistant containers.

    There are additional labeling requirements for specific product types. See the full labeling requirements here.

    Law #4: Taxes

    Legal reference

    Learn more about Montana cannabis taxes here.

    Explained: Here are the basics of cannabis taxation in Montana:

    • 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%.

    Learn more about Montana cannabis taxes here.

    Law #5: Patients and caregivers

    Legal reference

    4)"Debilitating medical condition" means: (a)cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome when the condition or disease results in symptoms that seriously and adversely affect the patient's health status; (b)cachexia or wasting syndrome; (c)severe chronic pain that is persistent pain of severe intensity that significantly interferes with daily activities as documented by the patient's treating physician; (d)intractable nausea or vomiting; (e)epilepsy or an intractable seizure disorder; (f)multiple sclerosis; (g)Crohn's disease; (h)painful peripheral neuropathy; (i)a central nervous system disorder resulting in chronic, painful spasticity or muscle spasms; (j)admittance into hospice care in accordance with rules adopted by the department; or (k)posttraumatic stress disorder.

    Explained: Here's how to get a medical marijuana card (or serve as a caregiver) in Montana:

    • Montana residents who possess a valid medical card can purchase cannabis from their provider or dispensary.

    • Marijuana must be consumed on private property, out of public view.

    • Montana’s qualifying medical cannabis conditions are as follows:
      • 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

      • 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

    • To get a medical marijuana card in Montana, you must first meet the following requirements:
      • Resident in the state of Montana

      • At least 18 years of age (minors must complete a separate form)

      • Diagnosed with one of the aforementioned qualifying medical conditions

    • If you meet those requirements, follow these steps to get a med card:
      • 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 diver’s license. The patient registry fee is $30.

    Montana cannabis laws FAQs

    Is recreational cannabis legal in Montana?

    As of January 1, 2022, recreational marijuana sales are legal in Montana.

    Medical marijuana has been legal in Montana since 2004.

    How is marijuana taxed in Montana?

    Medical marijuana is subject to a 4% tax, while recreational marijuana is subject to a 20% tax. Local jurisdictions can add an additional 3% tax.

    How much weed can I buy in Montana?

    You can buy one ounce of marijuana flower, or the equivalent amount of other cannabis products.

    Can dispensaries advertise in Montana?

    According to HB0701, Section 58, dispensaries cannot:

    (1)Advertise marijuana or marijuana-related marijuana products in any medium, including electronic media.

    (2) Post a listing in a directory of businesses authorized under this chapter is not advertising for the purposes of this section.

    (3) A licensee may have a website but may not; include prices on the website, or actively solicit consumers or out-of-state consumers through the website.

    Is Flowhub compliant with Montana’s medical marijuana regulations?

    Yes! Flowhub was the first integrator with Metrc, so we have a deep understanding of how to keep your dispensary compliant. We also are compliant with Montana’s medical marijuana regulations.

    Disclaimer: The material contained on this website and any attached or referenced pages has been compiled by Flowhub for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be and is not considered to be legal advice. This post is current as of 5/19/2021. Cannabis regulations are rapidly changing, and legal advice of any nature should be sought from legal counsel.

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