Montana State considers marijuana as a hallucinogenic substance and a very dangerous drug. Recreational cannabis is very illegal and punishable by fines and imprisonment. Possession of up to 60 grams of recreational cannabis for personal use is considered a misdemeanor and attracts a maximum of a 3-year jail sentence and a maximum of $1,000 fine.
Getting caught with over 60 grams of cannabis is considered a felony which can result in 5 years incarceration with a maximum of $50,000 fine. Cultivating, delivering, and selling ANY amount of weed in Montana is usually criminalized with a felony conviction.
Montana’s medical cannabis program, aka the Medical Cannabis Act or I148, was approved first in 2004, permitting patients with debilitating medical conditions to legally have access to cannabis. The Montana Legislature in 2011 passed SB 423 and enacted a whole new medical cannabis program, which put more restrictions on medical cannabis and increased the requirements of physicians, patients, and caregivers. Most patients feel SB 423 made the process of obtaining medical cannabis even more discouraging and burdensome, despite the high support of medical marijuana in Montana.
Since then in Montana, efforts have been made in encouraging progress. Anthony Varriano, a medical weed patient, wrote a petition for the legalization of cannabis on the ballot in Montana in 2015. The proposed amendment, which was The Marijuana Legalization Initiative, would’ve allowed adults to purchase, possess, and consume marijuana legally. Unfortunately, it didn’t meet the requirement of 48,329 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot in 2016.
Nevertheless, residents of Montana voted on the legalization of medical cannabis on November 8, and successfully expanded their medical weed program. Citizens of Montana proposed the Medical Cannabis Initiative (I182) to repeal the current law, which was previously enacted in 2011. This new initiative will permit patients to safely have access to medical cannabis without most of the obstacles they face currently. I182 will also permit other severe health conditions, such as chronic pain and PTSD, to qualify for medical weed.
Where can weed be purchased in Montana?
In Montana, the purchase of cannabis for recreational reasons is illegal. Patients who have medical cards can buy cannabis legally in state-licensed dispensaries.
The punishment if caught with weed
Depending on the amount and whether it is your 1st or 2nd offense, possession of up to 60g for personal use is considered as a misdemeanor and attracts a maximum of $1,000 fine and up to 3 years imprisonment. Subsequent offenses will result in higher fines and more jail time. It is a felony to cultivate, sell, or distribute any amount of weed in Montana.
Medical conditions that qualifies one for the Medical Card
You must’ve been diagnosed as having 1 or more of the following medical conditions by a licensed physician:
- Intractable nausea or vomiting
- Crohn’s disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Hospice care admittance
- Muscle spasms
- Severe chronic pain
- Peripheral neuropathy
How to apply for a Medical Card
You must submit a physician statement, a valid Montana state ID and an application form along with all applicable fees to the Montana Department of Health and Human Services office.
Note that you must be a resident of Montana with a valid Montana ID.