Legislative history

Montana was an early state to enact legislation to allow the use of medical marijuana for patients with debilitating medical conditions via a 2004 ballot initiative, the Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance, or I-148, which passed with nearly 62 percent approval. After the passage of I-148, lawmakers sought to repeal the law in 2011, but Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed it. However, later that year, the state Senate was able to enact stringent conditions on medical marijuana with Senate Bill 423 to create 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, with nearly 58 percent approval. The initiative removed many of the stricter requirements of SB 423 and added chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as qualifying conditions. The 2017 Legislature made additional changes with SB 333,  which creates more detailed regulations, allows additional chemical manufacturing of marijuana products, and creates a tax on gross sales.

The Medical Marijuana Program under the oversight of the Children, Families, Health and Human Services interim committee of the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS), controls and regulates medical cannabis.

Where is it safe to purchase & consume?

Residents 18 and older can purchase cannabis from a dispensary storefront, have marijuana delivered by registered providers, or cultivate their own.


Providers must be Montana residents, obtain business licenses, undergo fingerprinting and criminal background checks.

Dispensaries must also be registered and licensed. Owners must submit fingerprints and undergo a background check. If on leased space, dispensaries must have a permission form from the landlord.


The state is migrating all licenses and registration to a new database for “seed to sale” tracking.


Public consumption is not allowed.

How Old Do I Need
to Be to Consume?
Possession Limit
for Flower
Possession Limit
for Concentrates

Possession info and limits

A registered patient who has not listed a provider may possess up to one (1) ounce of usable cannabis as well as four (4) mature plants and 12 seedlings.


A provider or marijuana-infused products provider may possess a “canopy” of 30 square feet for each registered cardholder who has named the person as his or her registered provider.

Lab Testing

The state has three laboratories to test medical marijuana. Cannabis is tested for moisture, content potency, contaminants, microbes, heavy metals, pesticides, residual solvents, and mycotoxins.


Laboratory applicants must provide fingerprints and criminal background checks for owners, the scientific director and employees, proof of permission to operate lab from a landlord or property owner, and register and supply badges to all employees. The license fee is $2,000.

Qualifying Conditions and Patient Rights

Current qualifying conditions are:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain that is persistent and significantly interferes with daily activities.
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy or other intractable seizure disorder
  • Glaucoma
  • Intractable nausea or vomiting
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscle spasms
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


Patients must register with the DPHHS’s Quality Assurance Division to receive an ID card. They must also supply a physician’s statement verifying a debilitating condition. A medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy must fill out the physician’s statement.


Fees for providers range from $100 for a caregiver relative to $5,000 for a provider with 50 or more patients.


Children younger than 18 can also receive ID cards but must identify a parent or legal guardian as their provider.


Since 2011, reciprocity has not been offered to out-of-staters. Legal protections are only provided for patients with Montana ID cards.

This page was last updated on November 8, 2018.