Montana

Is weed legal in Montana?

Yes. Starting January 1, 2021, Montana residents age 21 and older will be allowed to possess, use, and grow up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Medical marijuana is already legal for patients who have a qualifying condition and a state-issued medical marijuana ID card.

Possession of more than 60 grams of cannabis or 1 gram of concentrate is considered a misdemeanor punishable by no more than six months in jail and a fine up to $500 for a first offense. After January 1, 2021, 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.

Legislative history

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 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. 

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 can consume their cannabis medicine 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.

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. 

Application process

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. 

Qualifying conditions

Current qualifying conditions are:

  • Admittance into hospice care
  • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • 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
  • Glaucoma
  • 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)

Reciprocity

Legal protections are only provided for patients with Montana ID cards.

Testing

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
  • Microbes
  • Moisture content
  • Mycotoxins
  • Pesticides
  • Residual solvents

FAQ

Are dabs a felony in Montana?

We are not attorneys. Please consult one for specific cases. Montana law allows concentrates for medical marijuana patients so dab rigs may also be allowed. 

Anyone who is not a registered medical marijuana patient can be imprisoned for up to five years and fined up to $5,000 for possessing concentrates or “synthetic tetrahydrocannabinols.” Dab rigs, nails, and other equipment are considered drug paraphernalia and possessing them is a misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.  

Beginning January 1, 2021, paraphernalia and up to 8 grams of concentrate will be legal for adults 21 and older.   

Can you own a gun with a medical card in Montana?

Federal law prohibits anyone in any state from owning a firearm if they are an “unlawful user” of marijuana. Since federal law also prohibits all use of marijuana, it counts everyone who consumes it as an “unlawful user,” regardless of state law. Firearms dealers are not required to ask about medical marijuana use, however, and the medical marijuana card application does not ask about firearm ownership. 

Is CBD oil legal in Montana?

Hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) oil is available in Montana but is prohibited in food, beverages, and dietary supplements. Hemp-derived CBD can legally be used in tinctures, oils, salves, balms, and lotions, which can be purchased from stores across the state.

Does Montana have dispensaries?

Yes, but they call them providers. You can find a list of licensed ones here

Can you go into a dispensary without a card in Montana?

Yes, you can look around and purchase hemp-derived CBD products. But you can't be in the store when a medical marijuana purchase is made unless you have a medical marijuana card. 

This page was last updated on November 5, 2020.

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The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical or legal advice. This page was last updated on July 19, 2021.