Updated March 2020
While Montana voters strongly supported a measure to legalize medical marijuana, the state has some of the harshest recreational marijuana laws in the United States. Learn more about Montana marijuana laws below.
Recreational Marijuana in Montana
Is marijuana legal in Montana? No. Possession of any amount of marijuana without a medical license is a serious crime in Montana. Any amount less than 60 grams is a misdemeanor, and even a first offense is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $500. Subsequent offenses can be punished by as much as 3 years in prison, as well as $1,500 in fines. Possession of any amount above 60 grams is a felony.
Additionally, possession with intent to distribute, or sale/delivery of marijuana are penalized extremely harshly. Possession of any amount of marijuana, no matter how small, with the intent to distribute, constitutes a felony that can be punished by as much as 20 years in prison. Sale or delivery of marijuana is also a felony, carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year.
Medical Marijuana in Montana
Medical marijuana patients won a major victory in 2004 when voters passed Initiative 148 with 62% of the vote. Senate Bill 423 passed in 2011 to expand the state’s list of approved conditions. Since that time, the Montana government has enacted policies that have severely limited medical marijuana access, but in 2016 voters passed an initiative that expanded the program and removed many of the restrictions that had been preventing patients from accessing the medicinal cannabis they need.
Like in other medical marijuana states, patients in Montana must have a written statement from a doctor and be approved by the state’s medical marijuana program.
Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana include:
- Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome
- Chronic Pain
- Crohn’s Disease
- HIV / AIDS
- Hospice Care
- Painful Peripheral Neuropathy
- Severe Nausea
- Seizures, including those caused by Epilepsy
- Severe or Persistent Muscle Spasms, including those caused by Multiple Sclerosis
In November 2016, 58 percent of voters approved Initiative-182 to repeal what had been a three-patient limit for medical providers. Previously, marijuana providers (caregivers) were limited to assisting 3 patients and were not allowed to accept anything of value, including money, for the services or products they provided to medical marijuana patients. These limitations, set forth by the passing of SB 423, were repealed with the approval of Initiative-182.
Initiative-182 also amended the list of approved conditions to include:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
CBD from Hemp Oil in Montana
Hemp-derived CBD products are legal under Federal Law in the United States; however, individual state laws are dynamic and fluid. Individual states may enact their own laws governing hemp-derived CBD.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Montana
Montana became one of the first states to legalize hemp for industrial purposes. In 2001, Montana passed Senate Bill 261, which categorized industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, so long as it contained less than 0.3 percent THC. The law also created licensing procedures for farmers to be allowed to grow hemp commercially. The law was largely symbolic at the time, as it also contained a request to the federal government to allow the law to be enacted without federal interference.
Since the federal legalization of hemp in December 2018, Montana has moved forward with commercial hemp growing. In March 2020, the Montana Department of Agriculture had its commercial hemp program approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Legal Status of Other U.S. States
Stay up to date on the latest state legislation, referendums, and public opinion polls. Our Marijuana Legalization Map allows you to browse the current status of medical and recreational marijuana laws in other U.S. states and territories.
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