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State Regulations

The Legality of Cannabis in Montana

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Montana has legalized both medical and recreational cannabis. Medical cannabis was legalized by the passing of the Montana Marijuana Initiative aka Montana I-190. This initiative took effect the very day it was passed in 2004. To get into the program, patients have to submit a written certification by a licensed physician. They are also required to pay an application fee as well as filling out an application form for the registration and issuance of a valid medical marijuana identification card. Existing patients also have to renew their applications every year.

Montana also allows qualifying medical cannabis patients who have valid medical marijuana identification from another state to medicate within this state.

The qualifying conditions under Montana state law are:

  • Cancer
  • AIDS/HIV
  • Muscle spasms
  • Glaucoma
  • Cachexia
  • Neuropathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Intractable nausea /vomiting
  • MS
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain
  • Admittance into Hospice

Not only are both recreational and medical cannabis legal, but one can also legally possess a maximum of 1 oz. (28 g) of cannabis or 8g of concentrates.

This is one of the most liberated states as far as cannabis goes. Not only are both recreational and medical cannabis legal, but one can also legally possess a maximum of 1 oz. (28 g) of cannabis or 8g of concentrates. The legalization of cannabis took place on November 3, 2020, by Initiative 190.

Recreational cannabis became legal in the state of Montana when Initiative 190 was effected on January 1, 2021.  Prior to this Initiative which went to the ballot in November 2020, the use of marijuana for recreational use had been illegal since 1929.

Prohibition (1929): The banning of Marijuana this year followed a meeting held by the Health Committee which was described as being “great fun “citing its effects on the Mexican population

Kurth Ranch case (1985): A family from Fort Benton, the Kurth family resorted to growing marijuana in order to save their beef ranch which was failing.  After the venture was successful and they were able to pay off some of their debts, they decided to scale back their cannabis operations. This did not go down well with the drug traffickers they had been doing with who attacked the ranch posing as DEA agents. They beat the owners and stole plants threatening to report them if they didn’t pay an extortion fee. Eventually, the criminals reported the Kurths to the rightful DEA who raided the farm and arrested the family in October of 1987.

Apart from being charged with Montana Department of Revenue drug offenses, the Kurths were also informed that they owed tax from their marijuana sales to the Montana Department of Revenue. The Supreme Court ruled in the v. Kurth Ranch (1994) case that Montana’s 1987 Dangerous Drug Tax Act had just been passed weeks before the arrest of the Kurths. The punitive tax, therefore, was seen as punitive rather than a bid to collect normal revenue, and taxing their proceeds after they had faced drug charges was unconstitutional and a case of double jeopardy. This case was a landmark that guided the ruling of many other cases relating to marijuana.

Adult-use initiative (2020): According to the Montana I-190 initiative which was passed by ballot On November 3, 2020:

  • Adults of age 21 and above would be allowed to possess not more than an ounce of cannabis starting January 1, 2021.
  • Consuming and possessing Cannabis in public places as well as other specified locations including federal lands and waters would still be illegal.
  • Montana Medical Marijuana Program providers who were licensed are permitted to sell cannabis products to cardholders who have been registered in the program.
  • An individual cardholder is allowed to possess not more than 1 oz (28 g) of cannabis and can only purchase a maximum of 5 ounces (140 g) for a 30 day period, and not distribute it.
  • Adult use sales are only legal in counties that voted yes on I-190 Those that voted not permitted to sell recreational marijuana unless they hold a local referendum and approve by majority adult use.
  • Only licensed medical cannabis are allowed to grow marijuana until July 1, 2023 when cultivation be legalized.
  • The Taxation of Adult use marijuana was set at 20%.
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Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.

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