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SB 423 Montana Medical Marijuana Law Changes

SB 423 Montana Medical Marijuana Law Changes

Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 06/01/2011 in Medical Marijuana Laws

With SB 423 soon to be in effect, this means many changes for medical marijuana patients in Montana. To help alleviate confusion that is felt across the state, the Department of Public Health and Human Services released the following FAQs for patients:

1. Is the medical marijuana program still issuing cards? The department will continue to accept new and renewal applications on the current forms until June 20, 2011, however, new requirements for a chronic pain diagnosis take effect on May 14. This means any application or renewal for a patient with chronic pain, received after May 13 will need to meet the new requirements. (See number 5 for more information on the chronic pain diagnosis).

2. When the new laws take effect, is my card still going to be valid? Current patient cards will remain valid and will expire on the expiration date printed on the card. Under the new law, cardholders must carry their registry card with them at all times, along with a picture ID. All current caregiver cards will become invalid on July 1, 2011.

3. Can I renew my card early? Patients can renew their card up to 30 days before the expiration date printed on the card. This means patients can renew early if the expiration date is on or before July 20, 2011 and the renewal form is received by the department by June 20.

4. Instead of waiting for my renewal, can I pay $25 and get a new card? No. If a patient sends a new application packet but has a current, unexpired, enrollment the application materials will be returned to the patient.

5. Can I keep my card if I have a chronic pain diagnosis?

All current patient cards remain in effect until the expiration date printed on the card. Patients who are renewing their card or sending in a new application after May 13th must include the new physician statement for a chronic pain diagnosis with their application form. This form is available on the website at The new requirements are:

i. The patient’s doctor must state that the pain is persistent and severe and can be proven by necessary and relevant x-ray, MRI or other diagnostics; OR.

ii. A second physician may confirm the chronic pain diagnosis, after performing a physical exam if the patient’s first physician did not order diagnostic testing.

6. I am not a Montana resident; can I still get a card? No. Individuals must be a Montana resident to apply to be a registered patient or a provider. The new application will require a Montana driver’s license or state issued ID card.

7. When the new law takes effect, can I keep my caregiver? Effective July 1, 2011 patients will no longer be assigned to the caregiver they have now. Patients will have two options to get their medical marijuana: Patients can begin to grow their own medical marijuana. OR Patient’s can find a person willing to serve as a registered provider to grow and provide marijuana to them for free. If a patient names a provider, the patient can no longer grow their own marijuana.

8. Where can I get materials and marijuana seeds or cuttings to get started? The department does not have information about growing marijuana, but recommends using the internet, family and friends as resources to find information.

9. Can I have the same number of plants as I do now? No, Effective July 1, 2011, patients will be limited to 12 seedlings (<12”), 4 mature flowering plants, and 1 ounce of usable marijuana. If patients assign a provider, they cannot grow for themselves.

10. If my spouse and I are both patients, can we both grow marijuana in our home? Patients cannot grow marijuana or produce marijuana infused products at a location that is shared with, rented to or leased by another cardholder, unless individuals are related by the second degree of kinship. For example: A husband and wife, who are both patients, can grow for themselves in a home they share. Roommates who are both patients, but are not related, cannot grow for themselves in the home they share.

11. If I grow my own marijuana, do I need to have a background check? Will my name be on a list given to law enforcement? No. If patients are growing medical marijuana for their use only, they do not need to have a background check and their name and address will not be on a list given to law enforcement.

12. My minor child is on the registry, will his/her card still be valid under the new law? Yes, the card will be valid until the expiration date. The new requirements for minors take effect on July 1, 2011. If you renew your child’s card after June 20, 2011, it will be under the new program

13. Do I need to sign up as a provider in order to be the marijuana infused products (MIP) provider for my child? Yes. You will need to submit a provider application, an application fee and your fingerprints to the department to become a MIP provider for your minor child. Under the new law, you do not need to pass the fingerprint background check before becoming your child’s MIP provider, but you must submit your fingerprints to the department by October 1, 2011. See the provider section for more information.

14. Does the new law require two physician recommendations for a minor child? Yes, upon renewal (or for a new application submitted after June 20, 2011) minors must have a recommendation from two physicians in order to be on the registry.

15. I am under the supervision of the department of corrections (or a youth court). After the new law takes effect what will happen to my card? The patient’s card will expire on the expiration date printed on the current card. Upon renewal, the patient will no longer be eligible to be a registered cardholder.

16. Can I still have a card if I am convicted of a DUI? If a cardholder’s driver’s license is revoked for a DUI, the patient and/or provider’s medical marijuana card must be surrendered and will not be reissued until the DUI revocation period has ended.

17. Can I be tested for marijuana if I am pulled over? Registered cardholders who drive may be required (through a search warrant) to provide a blood sample, if they are suspected of driving under the influence. Probable cause is still required.

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