Montana Cannabis Laws + Possession Limits

by Kat Austin December 12, 2023 6 min read

Montana Cannabis Laws + Possession Limits - Vida Optima™

Montana stance on cannabis laws has experienced notable shifts, moving from stringent prohibition to embracing medical and recreational marijuana usage. Navigating these regulations might seem intricate, but fear not—we'll venture into Montana's evolving cannabis legislation together. 

Let's dive into Montana's cannabis laws, examining facets such as possession rules, cultivation guidelines, penalties, and the procedures for obtaining and distributing medical marijuana statewide. Join us as we uncover the changing terrain of cannabis in Montana:

Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in Montana?
Montana Cannabis Laws
How the Legal Sale of Cannabis Happens
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Where to Buy Cannabis Online

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use in Montana.
  • Adults 21 and over can possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis.
  • There are penalties for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces. 

Is Cannabis Legal in Montana?

Medical cannabis oil, one of many cannabis products available in Montana's legal cannabis market.

In Montana, marijuana has been legalized for both medical and recreational purposes. Back in 2004, voters approved Measure I-148, legalizing medical marijuana and enabling individuals aged 18 and above with medical marijuana cards to purchase from licensed dispensaries. Patients under 18 can also qualify for medical marijuana cards if their parents or legal guardians act as caregivers. Medical cardholders are allowed to grow up to four marijuana seedlings and four mature plants.

The legalization of recreational marijuana came about in 2020 through ballot initiative I-190. In 2021, the House of Representatives modified Montana I-190 into HB 701. This amendment made it legal for residents aged 21 and above to possess up to 1 oz of marijuana. Additionally, adults gained the right to cultivate two marijuana seedlings and two mature plants at home. Notably, Montana started permitting home cultivation for recreational use only on July 1, 2023.

Regulations for Adult Use

In Montana, adults age 21 and over can:

  • Buy up to one ounce of marijuana per transaction, or its THC equivalent in edibles (800 milligrams) or concentrate (8 grams). There's the flexibility to mix and match various forms within the purchase limit.
  • Possess up to one ounce of marijuana or its THC equivalent in edibles or concentrates is legal.
  • Transport cannabis in a vehicle. It must remain in its original, unopened packaging and stored outside the car's "passenger area." This means it should be in a locked compartment (like a glove compartment or trunk), or in a closed container in an area not typically occupied by the driver or passengers.
  • Cultivate up to two mature plants and two seedlings in a locked space at a private residence. 

Regulations for Medical Use

A registered Montana medical marijuana cardholder may:

  • possess up to one ounce of usable marijuana or up to 8 grams of concentration.
  • possess up to 4 mature plants, 4 seedlings, and the amount of usable marijuana allowed by the department by rule. 
  • Possess up to 8 mature plants and 8 seedlings in a home with two registered cardholders. 
  • Transport cannabis in a vehicle. It must remain in its original, unopened packaging and stored outside the car's "passenger area." This means it should be in a locked compartment (like a glove compartment or trunk), or in a closed container in an area not typically occupied by the driver or passengers.

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Cannabis in Montana

Here's a condensed list of qualifying conditions for medical patients in Montana:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Cachexia (Wasting Syndrome)
  • Severe chronic pain
  • Intractable nausea or vomiting
  • Epilepsy or other seizure disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn's disease
  • PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Chronic neuropathic pain
  • Admittance into hospice care

Please note that this list might not cover all qualifying conditions, as the eligibility for medical cannabis in Montana could encompass additional ailments as determined by a physician.

Restrictions for Cannabis Use in Montana

In Montana, cannabis is legal for medical use. However, there are restrictions imposed on medical card holders, including:

  • Cannabis consumption in public spaces is strictly prohibited, especially on federal property within Montana.
  • Counties where a majority of voters didn't approve recreational marijuana legalization can prohibit the sale of recreational cannabis. These counties can organize special elections to decide on allowing marijuana establishments, leading to the classification of certain areas as "red counties" where marijuana sales are prohibited.
  • Qualifying medical patients who are minors need guardian consent for cannabis use.
  • Under-21 patients need guardians in dispensaries.
  • Cannabis use prohibits driving or operating machinery.
  • Landlords may restrict cannabis use at home.
  • Dispensaries and other cannabis-related establishments in Montana are restricted from advertising their products through electronic media.

Montana Cannabis Laws

  • Measure I-148 - First Medical Marijuana Law:Approved by Montana voters, enabling medical marijuana use.
  • Senate Bill 423:Passed to amend and regulate medical marijuana, introducing stricter regulations.
  • I-182:Expanded medical marijuana access, adding post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to qualifying conditions.
  • Senate Bill 333: Signed into law by Governor Steve Bullock, impacting medical marijuana regulations.
  • Montana I-190- Recreational Marijuana Legalization: Approved by voters, legalizing recreational marijuana in Montana.
  • House Bill 701: Passed by the Montana House of Representatives, modifying provisions of I-190 regarding recreational marijuana.
  • HB 655 - Workplace Marijuana Rules:Passed to disqualify employees from seeking compensation for violating workplace marijuana rules, with exceptions for medical marijuana patients.

How Cannabis is Bought and Sold in Montana

In Montana, licensed dispensaries exclusively handle the sale of medical and recreational cannabis, offering both types of marijuana. For flower products, dispensaries sell marijuana with a maximum THC level of 35%. Capsules, suppositories, and transdermal patches can contain up to 100 mg of THC per serving and 800 mg in total.


Topical marijuana products in Montana are limited to 6% THC per package, with a maximum of 800 mg of THC. Edibles like cookies or candy must contain no more than 10% THC per serving and a total of 100 mg. However, these THC restrictions don't apply to medical marijuana products, which can have higher THC levels. Dispensaries also offer concentrates like shatter and terp sauce.

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Montana

Cannabis is legal within the specified possession limits for recreational consumers and medical card holders. Otherwise, here are the penalties related to marijuana offenses in Montana:

Possession:

  • Less than 1 ounce: Legal for individuals aged 21 or older.
  • 1 ounce to 2 ounces: Civil infraction, fines up to $300 or community service.
  • More than 2 ounces: Felony, up to 5 years in prison and/or fine up to $45,000.

Possession with Intent to Distribute:

  • 1 ounce to 2 ounces: Civil infraction, fines up to $300 or community service.
  • More than 2 ounces: Felony, up to 20 years imprisonment and/or fine up to $50,000.

Sale/Delivery:

  • More than 2 ounces: Mandatory minimum 1 year, up to life imprisonment, and/or fine up to $50,000.
  • To a minor: Mandatory minimum 2 years imprisonment and/or fine up to $50,000.
  • Within 1,000 feet of school grounds: Felony, minimum 3 years to life imprisonment and/or fine up to $50,000.

Cultivation:

  • More than 4 plants or up to 1 pound/30 plants: Felony, up to 10 years imprisonment and/or fine up to $50,000.
  • More than 1 pound/30 plants: Felony, minimum 2 years to life imprisonment and/or fine up to $50,000.

Hash & Concentrates:

  • Up to 8 grams: Legal.
  • More than 8 grams to 16 grams:
  • Civil infraction, fines.
  • More than 16 grams: Felony, up to 5 years imprisonment and/or fine up to $50,000.
  • Distribution of Tetrahydrocannabinol near schools: Felony, up to life imprisonment, mandatory minimum 3 years, and fine up to $50,000.

Paraphernalia:

  • Possession, manufacture, or delivery: Legal, unless to a minor by an adult over 18, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or fine up to $1,000.

Remember, these penalties can vary based on circumstances and prior offenses.

Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives

Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door.

Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out our Elev8 and Cloud9 Collections

Vida Optima Cloud9 Delta-9-THC Gummies

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