On 2020 Ballot
Medical marijuana is legal in the state of Montana, registered patients may access medical marijuana through licensed medical marijuana businesses that are allowed to grow, process/manufacture and/or dispense medical marijuana. Montana voters will see two initiatives, Initiative 190 (I-190) and Constitutional Initiative 118 (CI-118) on the Nov 2020 ballot to legalize adult-use/recreational marijuana in Montana. Learn more about how to get a Montana marijuana business license or schedule a complimentary consultation with our licensing expert, below.
When to Apply
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NUMBER OF MONTANA MARIJUANA BUSINESS LICENSES AVAILABLE
Montana Medical Marijuana Business Licenses: Montana’s medical marijuana program allows for a vertical business model – this means a licensee must grow, manufacture/process and sell their own products. A provider license is required to cultivate and manufacture/process medical marijuana. Provider licenses are tiered based canopy space increments, starting from 250 square feet to 20,000 square feet. A dispensary license is required to have premises from which a provider is approved by the department to dispense marijuana to a registered cardholder.
Montana Adult-Use Marijuana Business Licenses: If I-190 and CI-118 passes, a person who obtains an adult-use provider license, adult-use marijuana-infused products provider license, or adult-use dispensary license is authorized to cultivate, manufacture, possess, sell, and transport marijuana. The two initiatives did not provide any limitations on the number of licenses, however it also does not prohibit the state legislature and/or regulatory agency from establishing limits on the number of licenses issued in the future. The state will issue the following types of licenses:
- Adult-use provider means a person licensed by the department to cultivate and process marijuana for consumers.
- Adult-use marijuana-infused products provider means a person licensed by the department to manufacture and provide marijuana-infused products for consumers.
- Adult-use dispensary means a registered premises from which a licensed adult-use provider or adult-use marijuana-infused products provider is approved by the department to dispense marijuana or marijuana-infused products to a consumer.
For the first 12 months after the state begins to receive applications, the regulating department shall only accept applications from and issue licenses to existing medical marijuana business licensees that are in good standing with the state of Montana.
HOW TO START A MARIJUANA BUSINESS IN MONTANA
To be one of the first to secure a marijuana business license for the adult-use program, we suggest applying for a medical marijuana business license for the existing medical marijuana program now. As described above, medical marijuana businesses will have the first stab at applying for the approval to cater to the adult-use market.
Schedule for a complimentary 15-min consult with our licensing/application expert to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.
ENHANCED OVERVIEW OF MARIJUANA IN MONTANA
Montana Medical Marijuana Overview: Voters of Montana passed Initiative 148 in 2004, legalizing medical marijuana. The passage of the initiative created a medical marijuana program where access to medical marijuana was through a caregivers collective (licensed providers) system. Over a decade later in 2017, a bill was signed into law, amending the medical marijuana program to allow for a state-regulated dispensing system. Under this amendment, licensed providers and marijuana-infused product providers can produce and dispense marijuana to registered patients. In 2019, the state passed another bill into law, providing for a major reform to Montana’s medical marijuana system. The latest amendment made several changes to the program to include increasing taxes on marijuana providers’ gross sales; prohibiting providers from contracting with other businesses to operate under their licenses; lifting the prohibition on patients that limited them to purchase from only one (1) assigned dispensary; and establishing a tiered cultivation approach based on canopy size.
Qualifying Medical Conditions: Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome when the condition or disease results in symptoms that seriously and adversely affect the patient’s health status; cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe chronic pain; intractable nausea or vomiting; epilepsy or an intractable seizure disorder; multiple sclerosis; Crohn’s disease; painful peripheral neuropathy; a central nervous system disorder resulting in chronic, painful spasticity or muscle spasms; admittance into hospice care; post-traumatic stress disorder
Montana Recreational Marijuana Overview: There are two initiatives, I-190 and CI-118, on the Nov 2020 ballot to legalize adult-use marijuana in Montana. I-190 and CI-118 are not opposing or competing initiatives, the two initiatives work in tandem. I-190 is a statutory measure that would legalize, regulate, and tax adult-use marijuana in Montana; CI-118 is a constitutional amendment that would give the state the authority to set the minimum age of marijuana consumption at 21. Under the statutory proposal, marijuana sales would be taxed at 20%. The law would give Montana medical marijuana providers first entry into the adult-use market, allow for limited personal possession and cultivation, tightly regulate production and distribution, shift regulatory authority for marijuana to the Montana Department of Revenue, and create new funds for veterans, healthcare, education, infrastructure and conservation efforts.
Ballot – Vote YES on I-190 AND CI-118
New Approach Montana submitted over 130,000 signatures on June of 2020 to qualify the pair of legalization initiatives for the November 2020 ballot. A minimum of 26,100 signatures were needed from registered voters for I-190, which would legalize the use and possession of cannabis in Montana; and the group needed another 51,000 signatures for the CI-118, which would define the legal marijuana consumption age of 21. On August of 2020, the collected signatures were verified and the initiatives were approved to appear on the November 2020 ballot.
View the entire CI-118 here.
MONTANA MARIJUANA TIMELINE
2004 – State legalized medical marijuana. Access to medical marijuana was through a caregiver collective program.
2016 – State legalized a legal dispensing system, allowing for licensed medical marijuana businesses.
2019 – State legalized a bill making major amendments to the medical marijuana program.
Nov 3, 2020 – Voters to vote on initiatives to legalize adult-use marijuana.
October 2021 – The department shall promulgate rules and regulations to administer and enforce the adult-use marijuana program and shall begin accepting applications for and issuing licenses for marijuana businesses.
For the first 12 months after the department begins to receive applications, the department shall only accept applications from and issue licenses to existing medical marijuana businesses.
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