Montana Medical Marijuana Laws

Aug, 2021
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The Montana medical marijuana laws have gone through a series of changes over the years. If you are curious about how the laws have evolved, especially what is currently permissible under the law for you as a registered patient, we have you covered. Elevate Holistics knows you may also have some pressing questions about the legality of recreational marijuana in Montana. (Let’s be honest: it’s all a bit confusing.) 

Don’t worry. We’ve crafted straightforward, thorough answers to all your Montana medical marijuana law questions. Let’s get right into it.

Montana medical marijuana laws

The History Behind Montana Medical Marijuana Laws

In 2004, MT passed the Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance Initiative. It passed with an inspiring 62% of voters approving it. Sometime in 2011, lawmakers in Montana moved to repeal this law, but Gov. Brian Schweitzer saved the day as he vetoed the measure. 

However, his move did not stop the lawmakers from imposing stringent measures concerning how residents of Montana could access medical marijuana. Thus, later in 2011, the Senate enacted Senate Bill 423, also known as the Montana Marijuana Act.

The provisions of this Act made access to medical marijuana practically impossible for several patients. The Act, for instance, provided that cultivators could not assist more than three patients, and they could not receive compensation from these patients. It also provided that testing medical marijuana for safety and potency was illegal. (What sense does that make?)

SB-423 also stated that law enforcement officers could enter into the location of any provider, including private homes, to search without a warrant. Another critical issue with the law was that it contained several defects that left medical marijuana providers vulnerable to criminal prosecution. 

After a long protracted legal battle against the provisions in 2016, the Montana Supreme Court upheld most of the provisions of the law.

Later that year, the voters approved the Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative. Otherwise known as I-182, this initiative removed several strict requirements that SB 423 initially imposed. It established a basic regulatory structure for businesses serving patients — provisions that were absent from the law until the coming into effect of I-182. The I-182 also expanded the list of qualifying conditions to include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain as qualifying conditions for access to medical marijuana in the state. This allowed more Montana residents to obtain the cannabis they needed for their medical conditions.

Current Qualifying Medical Conditions in MT

Currently, the conditions that qualify you for a medical marijuana card under the Montana Medical Marijuana laws include:

  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Intractable nausea
  • Epilepsy or intractable seizure disorder
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • painful peripheral neuropathy
  • a central nervous system disorder resulting in chronic, painful spasticity or muscle spasms
  • admittance into hospice care
  • severe chronic pain
  • post-traumatic stress disorder
  • any other medical condition or treatment for a medical condition approved by a legislature

It is also worthy to note that on November 3, 2020, voters approved the Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative (Montana 1-190). This initiative signifies a notable change to Montana marijuana laws: it allows the possession and use of up to one ounce of marijuana, or 8 grams of concentrates, for adults who are 21 or older. But, we’ll talk more about this next.

Yes! Following Initiative 190 in November 2020, it is now legal for adults in Montana to possess cannabis for personal use in the state. However, the only legal way to acquire cannabis for recreational purposes in Montana is to grow it yourself. 

Simply put, you cannot travel to another state where recreational cannabis is legal to buy it and then bring it back to Montana. Instead, the law allows you to have up to 4 marijuana plants of your own. Although, this will reduce to two plants for each person or four plants for each household when the state signs HB 701

When HB 701 goes into effect on January 1, 2022, existing medical marijuana dispensaries will be able to sell cannabis to adults for recreational purposes.  Other unestablished dispensaries will have to wait until July 1, 2023, when they can apply for an adult-use license.

Montana medical marijuana laws permit you to legally access marijuana products such as flower, concentrates, infused products, and resins. However, some of these items are hard to find, so you may have only a few options. 

Registered medical patients are allowed to grow their supply. However, they can also decide to purchase cannabis from any of the licensed dispensaries.

If you are a medical marijuana patient, Montana medical marijuana laws allow you to consume your cannabis only privately and out of public view. You are not allowed to consume in public places such as:

  • buses
  • school or post-secondary school
  • any property owned or leased by a school or post-secondary school
  • school bus or public transit
  • public parks, beaches 
  • any place of worship
  • correctional facility
  • healthcare facility
  • any location where children’s health may be affected
  • federal lands

It is also illegal to operate a vehicle, boat, or aircraft under the influence of cannabis. Note that employers still have the right to enforce workplace drug policy, and as such, you may not be able to consume marijuana at your place of work if your employers have this policy in place.

Where Can You Purchase Cannabis in Montana?

As earlier mentioned, you currently cannot buy recreational marijuana in Montana till 2022. However, as a registered medical marijuana patient, you can purchase medical marijuana from any state-approved provider you want when registering as a patient. 

Under Montana medical marijuana laws, providers are allowed to sell cannabis to registered cardholders through licensed dispensaries. However, note that after the expansion of Montana’s medical marijuana act in 2016, it became illegal to deliver medical marijuana in any capacity. In essence, as a patient or caregiver, you have to walk into a physical dispensary to purchase your cannabis.

Curious about cannabis delivery? Check out our newest blog post about it:

What About Reciprocity?

Montana currently does not have reciprocity laws, and only patients who register under the state medical marijuana program enjoy legal protection under the medical marijuana laws. Thus, the medical marijuana program currently does not give room for out-of-state patients.

Understanding Montana Medical Marijuana Laws With Elevate Holistics

Accessing medical marijuana in Montana is relatively easy once you have gotten your medical marijuana card. But how do you get your Montana medical marijuana card? How do you use medical marijuana in a way that isn’t contrary to the law?

Elevate Holistics is here to help you understand all you need to know about Montana medical marijuana laws. In the months to come, we will open our online MMJ card operations to you as a resident of Montana.  We are so excited about helping you get access to your medical marijuana card, helping you enjoy a holistic wellness journey. Get notified when we start operations in Montana by signing up below for our emails and newsletters. Soon, you'll be getting your MT MMJ card all from the comfort of your home.

Want to know more about getting a Montana medical marijuana card? Here's the step-by-step process.

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