Is Recreational Weed Legal in Montana?

Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
August 11, 2021
Montana Cannabis legal or No
Montana Cannabis legal or No

As of January 1st , 2021, recreational adult-use cannabis has been legal in the state of Montana, for those who are 21 years of age or older.  In fact, The Treasure State has maintained a legal medical marijuana program for longer.


History of Weed Laws

Montana was one of the first states in the country to develop a medical marijuana program, as in 2004, voters passed the Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance Initiative with almost 62% approval.  The law came with the development of a list of qualifying conditions for patients.  In 2011, there was an attempt to repeal it, but Governor Schweitzer vetoed lawmakers’ efforts to ensure that the medical marijuana laws remained intact.


The Montana Marijuana Act became law in 2011, which further regulated the state’s medical marijuana program.  In August of 2016, lawmakers attempted to challenge portions of the law, until the state’s Supreme Court determined that the law would largely remain as is.


Later that year, the Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative was passed by voters, which made medical marijuana more accessible by loosening the law to permit more qualifying conditions, including PTSD and chronic pain, and make the process of qualifying simpler for patients.  Then, in 2017, SB333 was signed to further regulate the medical marijuana industry within the state while creating a tax on sales.


On November 3 of 2020, voters approved the Marijuana Legalization and Tax Initiative, or Montana I-90.  It determined that adults 21 or older could legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana, or a maximum of 8 grams of concentrate.  A 20% tax was placed on marijuana sales, and lawmakers are currently working on laws to expunge certain cannabis-related crimes.


Where Can a Person Legally Purchase Weed in Montana?

Montana medical patients can apply to either purchase cannabis from a dispensary or cultivate it themselves.  The state law determines that cannabis can be sold in the form of flower, resin, concentrate and infused products, which includes edibles, tinctures, and topicals.  State-licensed medical dispensaries are found throughout the state for medical patients to visit, and MT also now permits home delivery of cannabis products, with a delivery program that is regulated by the state. 


Medical patients approved by the state can purchase up to 5 ounces of marijuana per month, with a limit of how much they can purchase per day of 1 ounce.  A physician can petition the state to authorize a higher buying limit. 


Due to the recent changes in recreational weed legalization, recreational dispensaries aren’t yet operational in the state, and so the state has not yet determined how adult residents can legally purchase cannabis for recreational use.


Where Can Cannabis Legally Be Used?

It is legal to consume cannabis at home or at another private space, as consumption in public is strictly illegal.  Also is illegal to consume cannabis on school grounds, in correctional facilities and in places of worship.  Remember, it is illegal to operate any kind of vehicle while under the influence of cannabis.


Possession Laws

All cannabis users can legally possess up to a full ounce of cannabis, or 8 grams of concentrate.


Can Residents Grow Their Own?

Currently, home cultivation is illegal in Montana unless you are a medical patient who has applied for cultivation as part of the medical marijuana program.


Medical Marijuana

Montana’s medical marijuana program is accessible to qualifying patients who are diagnosed with one of the qualifying conditions below.  This diagnosis must be provided by a healthcare provider.  The patient can apply by filling out a form through the state’s website, or mailing it in.


Qualifying Conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Muscle spasms
  • Glaucoma
  • Cachexia
  • Neuropathy
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Intractable nausea or vomiting
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain
  • Admittance to hospice


Patient Qualifications:

To qualify, a patient must not only be diagnosed with one of the above conditions but must also obtain certification from their physician, which is to be provided in the application.


How to Register for Medical Marijuana in Montana

Registry is done through the state’s Comlia Industry Portal.  The patient will find an application and must state whether or not they are going to be cultivating their own cannabis.  A photograph must be provided of the patient, along with their state-issued ID and a certification from their physician.  If they plan to cultivate on rented property, they must also provide a signed approval from their landlord.  There is a $30 processing fee.  A card must be renewed each year, unless a physician recommends that the card is renewed within less than a year’s time.


Qualifying as a Caregiver

A caregiver must be at least 21 years of age to qualify on a patient’s behalf.  


Registering as a Caregiver

A patient must apply for the caregiver by designating the caregiver on their application form, and the caregiver must also fill out their own application form. 


Reciprocity Laws

The state does not permit reciprocity.


Licensing Laws

All cannabis products sold in Montana are tested by a third-party lab for quality, safety, and potency, before they can be sold to consumers.


Frequently Asked Questions

#1: When Did Weed Become Legal in Montana?

Recreational adult-use marijuana has been legal in Montana since 2021. 


#2: Where Can I Buy Weed in Montana as a Non-Medical User?

The state has legalized recreational use but has not yet set up a state-regulated retailer system that allows recreational users to purchase cannabis.  Therefore, you cannot yet find a dispensary as a user unless you have a medical card.


#3: Can I Grow My Own Cannabis?

As of now, you can only grow marijuana on your property if you have a medical card and have applied for cultivation as part of the registration process. 


#4: Can I Drive While Under the Influence of Cannabis?

It is illegal to drive if you are under the influence of marijuana, regardless of your medical status.  This can lead to serious penalties as it is part of the state’s DUI laws.


#5: Can I Smoke or Vape Weed in Public?

Vaping or smoking weed in public is outlawed in Montana, and you can only do so at home or on another private property, no matter if you live in places like Helena or Billings.


#6: Is Dabbing Legal in Montana?

Dabbing may be illegal in the state of Montana, due to the state’s laws pertaining to what they determine to be synthetic THC products.  It’s best to contact a lawyer who can provide more information if you intend to dab in the state of Montana.


#7: Can I Purchase Cannabis as an Out-of-State Resident?

Currently, Montana does not permit out-of-state visitors to purchase cannabis whether they are a medical patient or not.