Montana Medical Marijuana (Fall 2021 Update)

Updated on October 27, 2021.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

Getting a Medical Marijuana Prescription in MT

Currently, only patients that have been registered with the Montana Medical Marijuana Program may buy and therapeutically use cannabis.  Patients can conveniently apply online through the Complia Industry Portal.  

This, however, will change effective January 1, 2022, when adult-use cannabis is available for sale in Montana. But people purchasing cannabis without a medical card will pay a 20% sales tax.  Having a medical card means patients will only pay a 4% sales tax on cannabis products.  Certain cities and jurisdictions may also charge an additional regional tax of 3%. 

Montana is one of the states that does not keep patients waiting. Once you have received your certification letter from the physician and uploaded your information and application, it’s all done.  

Patients can download a temporary Montana medical card to use right away.  Then the permanent card arrives in the mail, usually within fifteen (15) days.  The fee for the Registered Cardholder Card is $30.   The cost of a replacement card in Montana is $10. 

Medical Marijuana in Montana (Fall 2021 Update)

The Montana Legislature approved House Bill (HB) 701, and Gov. Gianforte signed it on May 18, 2021. This bill amended many parts of the I-190 (recreational marijuana initiative).  It also made some important changes to the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. 

Some of the changes implemented in HB 701 included:

  • Montana medical cardholders who want to grow their own cannabis at home can also buy from licensed dispensaries. The new purchase limits that apply to home-grow certified patients include 1 ounce per day and a maximum of 5 ounces per month (per Section 81 of HB 701). 
  • The new limit for residents with a Montana medical card is four (4) mature plants and four (4) seedlings.   There is a household maximum now of 8 mature and 8 seedling cannabis plants (regardless of how many cardholders live within the residence) per Section 41 (1)(c). 

It is important to note that every patient certified to grow cannabis at home is registered with the state.  And the state can, at any time, conduct an inspection to make sure patients are not growing more cannabis than legally allowed.

Montana Medical Card FAQs

Who qualifies for medical marijuana in Montana?

Compared to other states, Montana has a reasonable number of qualifying health conditions for medical marijuana. Patients must have at least one of the qualifying health conditions approved by the state to apply for a medical card.
In 2021 the health conditions that make a patient eligible to join the Montana medical marijuana program include: Hospice admittance (compassionate care), Cachexia or wasting syndrome, Cancer, Pain disorders of the central nervous system, muscle spasms, or chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, Epilepsy or other seizure disorders, Glaucoma, HIV or AIDS (where symptoms that impact daily life are present), Persistent or intractable vomiting and nausea, Multiple sclerosis, Peripheral Neuropathy, or PTSD.
Prior to the Montana medical card health evaluation, patients must provide health records with at least 1-3 years of history. This information will be reviewed by the practitioner that completes the medical cannabis health evaluation.
Some doctors require that the formal diagnosis be confirmed by your primary care provider (PCP) six months to a maximum of one year prior to your medical card health check.

What Medical Marijuanas are Available in MT?

A medical dispensary in Montana is called a ‘provider.’ Patients must be registered to one provider location to legally purchase medical marijuana with their card. Patients who have a medical card will be able to purchase: Dry flower, Tinctures, Oils, Concentrates, Topicals, and Edibles.
Residents of Montana found possessing more than one (1) ounce or 28 grams of cannabis or 8 grams of concentrate can face a felony charge.The penalty for possession of cannabis in greater amounts (even by medical cardholders) can be five years imprisonment and a fine of $5,000.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Montana Medical Card?

To apply for a medical card in Montana, you have to be eighteen (18) years of age.When adult-use cannabis is available at dispensaries, you will have to be twenty-one years of age or older to purchase it.

Can I register my child for medical marijuana?

Yes. If you are the legal guardian of a child with one or more qualifying health conditions, you can register your child.Then, you will be required to register yourself as a caregiver.
Caregivers in Montana who are registered guardians of a child with a medical card and grow cannabis at home. This helps to economize the medical cannabis provided to the child.If you rent but do not own your home, this requires a special application to grow and a “property owner permission form for patients.”

How can I become a caregiver for MMJ in MT?

In Montana, there are no legal caregiver provisions provided in the medical cannabis program.Patients that qualify for medical marijuana must be adults.Children with chronic health conditions may have a medical card issued.
In order for a minor to become registered, two physicians must approve the recommendation.The patient must get a completed “Physician Statement for Minors” signed by two attending doctors.
The documentation required to apply for a Montana minor medical card includes: The physician statement document with two doctor signatures.
A birth certificate

Other legal guardian documents to prove custody of the minor
A copy of the parent or guardian’s ID for Montana or Driver’s License.

Parents or legal guardians may grow cannabis at home for medicinal use by the minor.However, that requires a special application called a “Marijuana-Infused Products Provider (MIPP).

What if I lose my medical card in MT?

If you lose your Montana medical marijuana card, you can request a replacement online on the Cannabis Control Division website. The cost is $10 for the replacement.
You must also provide a change of address or name information to the Montana CCD immediately. Suppose you do not submit the changes to the department within ten (10) days. In that case, you can be removed from the cannabis patient registry in Montana.
That includes your name, mailing address, residential address, the treating or referring doctor, or any change in your qualifying health condition.If your symptoms resolve, you must report it to the Montana CCD.

When did medical marijuana in Montana become legal?

Medical marijuana in Montana became legal because of a voter initiative in 2004.Because so few states had legalized medical cannabis, growth in the number of patients registered was slow at first. But picked up after amendments to the original SB 423 Montana Marijuana Act.

How do I renew my Montana medical card?

The first step to renewing your Montana medical card is to get a physician referral again. Part of keeping your card (and not allowing it to expire) is a health check from a certified doctor every year.

You can choose to go back to the doctor who first certified you for a Montana medical card.That is easier because the physician has your records and will remember you. Or you can choose another doctor. 

Once you have the required documentation from the physician, you will need to complete the rest of the renewal process online with the following steps:

  1. Go to the MyComplia.com website and log in with your patient email and password. 
  2. Navigate to the “Application Type” area.Then select “Patient Renewal.”
  3. Enter the ID number on your current medical card.
  4. The website should auto-fill the information saved to your ID number. 
  5. Upload photos or digital pdf copies of your driver’s license, your proof of residency in the state of Montana, a picture of yourself (white background similar to a passport photo), and the physician statement (certification letter).Save your progress and click ‘next’ to proceed. 
  6. Make your payment for your renewal fee with a credit card ($31.85). Then review your information. The dashboard will tell you if you have any missing data with a red-letter X. 

The new card should arrive in 4-6 weeks after online renewal. You may continue using your existing card until the expiry date. 

The History of Medical Marijuana in MT

Like many states, the legalization of medical cannabis in Montana was difficult.For many years Montana had a governor that did not approve of legalization and vetoed proposed legislation. 

Some of the critical points in the history of medical cannabis legalization in Montana include the following dates:

  • February, 2011— House Bill 161 was proposed to repeal I-148 and was passed.This was vetoed by then Gov. Brian Schweitzer.When it was vetoed, strong restrictions were placed on the Montana medical cannabis program. Some of the most serious restrictions were blocked by District Judge James Reynolds. As a result of the restrictions, cardholders in Montana dropped from 31,000 in May 2011 to 9,000 by 2014. 
    Source Web 2021: ballotpedia.org
  • November, 2016—The I-182 legislation was further revised thanks to a voter initiative on November 6, 2016.At that time, 57% of Montana voters approved amendments to better protect physicians and providers (dispensaries). 
    Source Web 2021: mpp.org
  • November, 2020— The Montana I-190 Marijuana legalization and Tax Initiative was approved by the voters.This legalized possession of up to one ounce of cannabis and up to 8 grams of concentrate for adult use.Recreational cannabis will only be available to adults aged twenty-one years or older. The I-190 (Prop. 190) legislation also creates a path to expungement and possible resentencing for residents of Montana that have a non-violent criminal charge for possession of cannabis.
    Source Web 2021: sosmt.gov

Montana Medical Marijuana Program: Contact Details

Medical Marijuana Program
Montana Department of Health and Human Services
Licensure Bureau
2401 Colonial Drive, 2nd Floor
P.O. Box 202953
Helena, MT 59620-2953
Phone: (406) 444-0596
Email: mtmarijuanaprogram@mt.gov
WebsiteMontana Medical Marijuana Program

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Montana Medical Marijuana Telemedicine Services Online

Qualified patients in Montana may choose to see a marijuana doctor online instead of in-person, using the telemedicine portal, provided that a medical marijuana telemedicine doctor first establish a bonafide relationship with the patient in-person, after which all follow-up visits may be conducted via medical marijuana telemedicine services, online.


The State of Montana has a legalized medical marijuana program, which allows patients to receive a medical marijuana recommendation from a certified physician, and apply for a state-issued Montana Medical Marijuana Card, permitting the patient to purchase marijuana for medicinal use, as per Montana state guidelines.

Since the Montana medical marijuana program is still changing their laws and new Montana medical marijuana laws are being enacted on a regular basis, please be sure to visit our site frequently to get the most updated laws as it pertains to the Montana medical marijuana program. Please click a corresponding link to find out more about Montana’s Medical Marijuana Program. We have compiled the following Montana medical marijuana index of information to serve as a medical library to our users for legal reference of Montana’s laws, guidelines and program details regarding medical cannabis use in Montana.

Please note: In order to become a legal medical marijuana patient you must first have a qualifying condition as outlined by the department of health services and/or department of justice. For a comprehensive list of Montana’s qualifying medical marijuana conditions, please visit our qualifying conditions section located on the top of our menu under “legal states.”

Qualification

Unlike many other states, the rules governing medical marijuana in Montana allow patients suffering from a wide range of illnesses to obtain medicinal cannabis. Montana offers the program to patients with:

For more information on who qualifies for marijuana in Montana, read our comprehensive guide.

Medical Marijuana Laws

Even though the Montana medical marijuana program has evolved over time, the penalties for pot possession remain harsh. For example, if you are caught with just a little more than two ounces (60 grams) of weed, you could be sentenced to a jail term of up to six months and have to pay a $500 fine.

If you are arrested a second time for the same offense, you’ll be looking at up to three years in jail and a $1,000 fine. Learn more by reading our comprehensive look at Montana’s medical marijuana laws.

Medical Marijuana Card

Ironically, the Montana medical marijuana program formerly allowed patients from other states with medical cannabis cards to be protected from legal action for possessing medicinal pot, even though Montana’s own program was quite restrictive. Now, the Montana program has expanded but out-of-state visitors no longer have that protection.

Learn more about obtaining a medical marijuana card in Montana, as well as restrictions governing who can and cannot get a card.

Medical Marijuana Facts

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, there were more than 1,500 arrests for cannabis-related offenses in Montana in 2012. Of those arrests, 95 percent involved possession. During the same year, more than 85 percent of vehicle thefts went unsolved, as did 91 percent of burglaries. Our section on Montana marijuana laws provides more information.

Doctors in Montana

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Dispensaries in Montana

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