Montana Dispensary Laws

LAST UPDATED JANUARY 29, 2021
 
Montana legalized recreational marijuana in the November 2020 election, with the passing of the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, I-190. Dispensaries are not yet operational. While a detailed timeline is still unknown, I-190 mandates that the state must begin accepting licenses no later than January 1, 2022. Montana made its first steps towards becoming a medicinal marijuana state in 2004 with the voter approval of I-140, or the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. The state has seen a series of legal challenges to the program, but those ultimately failed, resulting in a steady cannabis market today.
 
For medical marijuana users, registered cardholders will no longer be tethered to one individual provider; instead, Montana medical marijuana patients will be able to purchase cannabis from any of the state’s registered dispensaries. Additionally, the recent law changes had increased the purchase limit to one ounce of cannabis per day.
 
Below, we’ve summarized the state’s dispensary licensing rules and procedures as they currently stand, and we will update this page as the new laws come into effect. This page is informational only and should not be considered legal advice.
 

Retail Cannabis Licensing in Montana

Everything you need to know about opening medical cannabis dispensary in Montana.

What agency is in charge of retail cannabis licensing in Montana?

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) is responsible for licensing medical marijuana providers and dispensaries.

The adult-use marijuana program established by I-190 is a separate program under the Department of Revenue. The Department is yet to release further information, please see the Department of Revenue website for updates.

What is the process for obtaining a marijuana dispensary license in Montana?

In order to obtain a medical marijuana dispensary license in Montana, you must first successfully apply for a provider license. If you intend to manufacture and sell marijuana-infused products, you must apply for a chemical manufacturing endorsement, which is also referred to as a marijuana-infused product provider (MIPP) license.

Once you’ve obtained your provider/MIPP license, you’ll be eligible to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary business license through the DPHHS website.

What are the residency requirements for new medical marijuana providers?

Providers applying for a license before July 1, 2020, must have resided in Montana for three years, unless the provider was named by a registered cardholder by June 30, 2017.

After July 1, 2020, providers must have resided in Montana for one year before applying for a license.

What costs are associated with applying for a marijuana retail license in Montana?

The fee for a medical marijuana provider license depends on the number of registered cardholders that have listed you as their official provider:

  • For up to 10 cardholders, the fee is $1,000.
  • For 11-49 cardholders, the fee is $2,500.
  • For 50 or more cardholders, the fee is $5,000.

The fee for a chemical manufacturing endorsement (that is, the MIPP license) is $500; you may apply for your provider license and your MIPP at the same time.

The fee for a dispensary license is $500 — however, you may apply for one dispensary license at the same location as your provider/MIPP license at no charge.

Is there a limit to the number of licenses one person may hold?

Yes. One person may only hold one provider/MIPP license. However, you may apply for multiple dispensary licenses.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will have oversight and auditing powers over all of Missouri’s commercial medical marijuana operations.

Montana Dispensary Laws

Learn how to remain compliant with Montana's cannabis retail laws.

Who can purchase cannabis in Montana?

Montana residents who possess a valid medical marijuana registry identification card may purchase cannabis from their listed provider/dispensary.

What are the medical marijuana purchase limits?

Under Montana law, a registered medical marijuana cardholder may possess up to one ounce of marijuana flower or its equivalent (eight grams of marijuana concentrate, 800 mg. of THC in infused products/edibles, 16 .5-ml. vape cartridges or eight 1-ml. vape cartridges, or any combination thereof).

Where can a marijuana dispensary be located?

Montana dispensaries may not be located within a zone of a city, town, or county where activity related to medical marijuana use is prohibited. Additionally, dispensaries may not be located within 500 feet of any church, synagogue, or other place of worship, or of a school or post-secondary school.

What are the advertising restrictions for Montana marijuana dispensaries?

Licensed providers and dispensaries are prohibited from advertising marijuana or marijuana-related products in any medium, including electronic media.

What is required of Montana marijuana providers before conducting sales to cardholders?

Before selling marijuana flower or other products, providers who hold a dispensary license must verify the validity of the customer’s registry identification card. Additionally, marijuana products must be tested by an approved laboratory or the department of agriculture to ensure product safety and consumer protection.

Cannabis Tracking, Reporting, and Inventory Control in Montana

Every regulated cannabis market has its own tracking and reporting requirements. Find out how Montana monitors commercial cannabis activity here.

What are the tracking and reporting requirements for Montana cannabis retailers?

Licensed providers/dispensaries are required to track all inventory, transfers, and sales in the official state seed-to-sale tracking system.

What is the official marijuana seed-to-sale tracking system in Montana?

Metrc provides statewide marijuana seed-to-sale tracking and reporting in Montana.

Is Cova compliant with Montana’s cannabis tracking, reporting, and inventory control requirements?

Yes. Cova’s marijuana retail point of sale and inventory management system includes all the features needed to keep Montana providers compliant, including:

 

  • Inventory and sales tracking and reporting that is fully integrated with Metrc, the state’s contracted seed-to-sale system provider
  • Built-in product equivalency conversions and purchase limit enforcement to prevent over-selling
  • ID scanner for registry card verification
Mark-Balestra

Mark Balestra

Cannabis Business Lawyer & US Special Counsel Segev LLP

Legally reviewed by

Mark Balestra

Mark Balestra has 23 years of experience in emerging highly regulated industries and has been representing clients in the cannabis industry for the past 2 years. Through his cannabis practice, he has provided legal guidance in the areas of licensing, compliance, corporate governance, corporate transactions, human resources, and commercial transactions.

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