Highlights of Montana’s New Medical Marijuana Law

April 30th, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Yesterday, Governor Schweitzer said he’d allow SB 423 to become law without his signature. He may still veto any time in the next ten days, and we should continue encouraging him to do so, but in case he does allow it to become law, here’s what we have to look forward to:


  • Your existing card is still valid until it expires; you’ll renew under the new rules.
  • The same medical conditions will continue to qualify you, but if your diagnosis is “severe chronic pain”, the new law is much more strict. The pain must be persistent and of severe intensity, and objectively proven by an X-ray or MRI, or a second physician must confirm the diagnosis after a physical exam.
  • You must be a Montana resident.
  • Once you have your card, if you do not choose a provider, you’ll be able to possess 12 seedlings, 4 mature flowering plants, and 1 ounce of usable marijuana. By choosing a provider, you give up your right to grow for yourself.
  • Failure to notify the state of a change of address within 10 days voids your card.
  • You must carry your medical marijuana card with you at all times.
  • Parents wishing to register their minor children need a second doctor’s recommendation, must submit fingerprints for an FBI background check, and agree that the minor will never smoke marijuana, only use infused products.
  • People under department of corrections supervision are not eligible.
  • Gardens may not be combined and shared, unless you are relatives by blood or marriage.
  • Drivers may be compelled via search warrant to provide a blood sample.  5ng/ml is cause for a DUI charge.
  • If your drivers license is revoked for DUI, your medical marijuana card must be surrendered.


  • A new “provider” registration process is supposed to be available by June 1st, 2011. Anyone who wishes to grow marijuana for someone else will be subject to a fingerprint background check by the FBI, as well as a financial background check (unpaid taxes, student loans, child support).
  • If you do not get one of the new cards in June, you must bring in all your plants and product to local law enforcement for destruction before July 1st.
  • You may choose to register as a “marijuana-infused products manufacturer” instead of, or in addition to, registering as a “provider” (grower).
  • If approved, providers will be allowed to grow 4 mature plants and 12 seedlings each for up to 3 patients.
  • Nobody can sell anything to anyone. No money, nothing of value may be exchanged for marijuana, except that the patient may reimburse the provider for the state application fee.
  • Infused product manufacturers must use separate cookware from that which they prepare “normal” food, and are subject to local health department food preparation rules.
  • You must carry your provider card with you at all times.
  • Law enforcement will be automatically notified of the location of your garden. You may have only one. Law enforcement can conduct unannounced inspections during business hours.
  • Gardens cannot be combined or shared.
  • Must keep a complete set of records showing all transactions with cardholders (by name and ID number), open for inspection by law enforcement at any time during business hours.
  • Advertising of any kind is prohibited, including via electronic media (websites, email). This provision is effective upon passage — mid-May.


  • Must describe in writing the medical condition, why it is debilitating, and the extent to which it is debilitating.
  • Must confirm that they have assumed primary responsibility for caring for the patient.
  • Must describe the range of other medications and treatments used to treat the condition.
  • Must confirm that they have reviewed all other medications and supplements and considered their possible interaction with marijuana.
  • Must confirm they have explained the potential risks of marijuana.
  • May not affiliate in any way with providers or infused products manufacturers.
  • May not examine patients where marijuana is being grown.
  • May not offer a discount or incentive to a patient for choosing a particular provider.
  • Will be reported to the Board of Medical Examiners if they recommend for more than 25 patients in a year. This will trigger a formal review of the physician’s practices, for which the physician will be responsible for the costs.
  • Telemedicine recommendations will constitute “unprofessional conduct” under 37-1-316.

Finally, there will be a “hotline” for people to report suspected abuses of the medical marijuana law by anyone, and local governments may ban providers and infused products manufacturers from operating within their boundaries.

If the governor doesn’t veto SB 423, that’s what we have to look forward to.

Don’t Like It?

Contact the governor before May 10th and urge him to veto SB 423:

  1. Click here: http://www.montanadrugpolicy.org/alert/46
  2. Click here: http://governor.mt.gov/contact/commentsform.asp
  3. Call: (406) 444-3111 and urge the governor to veto SB 423 and regulate medical marijuana via administrative rules.

As always, if you want to be listened to and be effective, be professional in your correspondence.

Various teams of activists are also speaking with lawyers about the possibility of suing to stop the law from going into effect, and there will likely be a signature-gathering effort in a few weeks to try to stop this bill from becoming law. If you want to help, please contact us, and let us know where you live.






  1. Jake says:

    So people on probation with say M.S. and Cancer? Sounds like our Gov wants us dead….

  2. dave says:

    I am with the belief that every one of the people voted into office will answer for this abuse of power.

  3. Orly T Hupcap says:

    All of my friends are afraid and have gone underground. They are elderly and do not want to be sterio typed as drug addicts and tried in kangaroo courts. They think they can go back to the old ways and it would be safer. They are hoping that the police will go after the young people and leave them alone.

    How will we ever change their minds and get them to come out in the open?

  4. lefty says:

    As we all know, this bill is ‘repeal’ wearing lipstick. The hypocrites aren’t even honest enough to admit what they are doing. Legal challenges are worth pursuing, someone needs to coordinate efforts, and solicit contributions. The petition drive is worthwhile, I suppose, but I doubt this will be very successful. Continuing to pressure Schwietzer is almost certainly a waste of time… he is being a politician instead of a leader, no surprise there.

    Our best long term strategy is to get this on the ballot again as an Initiative, but this time the Initiative has to have enough workable detail so the dopers and parasitic profiteers can’t ruin it again. This absurd legisilation is the combined efforts of two classes of dirt bag – the Taliban morality police, who believe it is better honest people suffer than allow someone to get away with having fun; and the dopers and profiteers, who rushed in and waved this thing in everyone’s faces. In the future we need to fight both groups of jackasses.

  5. dm says:

    Does anyone know how this will effect current cardholders on probation. Does it expire July 1st, or when it regularly would have and then not be “eligible” under the new law?

  6. Ryan says:

    This is crap. Who can say how much pain another is in? Who can say who needs marijuana and who does not? Nobody has the right to deny another person their right to life. This is taking that right away. Plain and simple.

  7. JD Junior says:

    Medical MJ changed my life for the better – without it, I may well have to leave the state to continue being able to live.

  8. longbud says:

    A form of government that has the power to govern without consent of those being governed. Time to register to vote and sign the petition.Need to get a petition to get rid of HB-391 also. I know there are some impatient pens waiting to put a pencil whipping on these dictators. Is’nt that what caused an uprising in other countries? Until all this political abuse of power ends there will be no justice or peace. A few perfect examples of this abuse are :the so called federal raids during a marijuana legislative debate,the msla police chief and this Hb-391 introduced by are prosecutor.Perfect timing for this bill I might add. I know that if any type of marijuana arrest are made We The People need to protest that they be freed and not prosecuted.A civil rights uprising is a good example of the power of the people. What is a shame is I for one went to some of the protest and there were not that many people.But every other car honked in support. Please get out of those cars and stand for this cause.Are We The People going to just honk as a solution.No! WE need a strong uprising! To demonstrate that we are not giong to live under a dictatorship ruling.The laws to protect this country should not be processed like this anymore.A democratic way is what America is about. Americans please stand up and let your voice be heard!

  9. Middle says:

    Well put Lefty!!

  10. Penny says:

    My overall thinking on this new law; The implementation of this measure obstructs competition to big industries and promotes the elimination of the small farmer. This is a revenue/job killing law. Please contact Governor Schweitzer.

  11. Rg says:

    Who is gonna grow, knowing that FBI have their information?Its gonna be impossible to find caregivers.

  12. Don says:

    I wrote just the other day how proud I was of the Governor for standing up for those in pain and suffering from a myriad of illness when our other so called representatives seem to lack understanding or compassion for the very people who put them in office. I was overcome with a since of wow he cares. He heard our voices. He heard the cries and he sees our suffering. But it seems it is just not enough pain and suffering to move him to go against the cruelty. What a shame he will leave office with a legacy of betraying the sick, hurting and dying.

  13. kurtis says:

    the montana legal limit for people on probation or in pre-release is 50 nanograms so how does 5ng count for being legal.

  14. denny says:

    well we voted for marijuana here in mt why r u trying to change the law if people just start growing more kids will access to it. caregivers spend lots of time, money,and electricity so why not just pay taxes on it like cig.and beers.why take prescriptions drugs so u can overdose on them.U Cant Overdose on mmj.Get over it people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. David Redfern says:

    Ifthey think they can push 423 down our throats we need to rub their noses in it. This calls for putting together a growers and patients bill, with no interferance from the antis, and place it on the ballot so the initiative spells out the law and bypass the political hacks completly. This is to important to too many people to be a political football and be shot down to reach a budget compromise.

  16. jon gindick says:

    End prohibiton.

  17. Goin'GodsWay says:

    Simply put, it is my GOD given RIGHT.
    Its not only in MY Bible, but in the very Bible they swear on.

    Genisis 1:29
    “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”

    Anyone catch where it says ‘ EXEPT MARIJUANA’ ?!
    me either., best i can read, it says “EVERY herb bearing seed” !
    Where does it say “unless some else doesnt like it?!
    How DARE they say God is wrong.
    How DARE they presume to have higher authority than GOD !
    How dare they say, “they know better than Him.”

    Truth of it is, by denying us our God given herb, they are coming awful close to persecuting our American right to religion.

    God gave ALL herbs to us. Period.

    knowing they can’t show me scripture to the contrary, we will ALWAYS go with Gods WRITTEN opinion about herbs. Its clearly written, its cleary understood.
    ITS MINE !

  18. punkrock says:

    If the goal is to truly take the profit out of it, then the law makers should take away the possession limit. Compare it to cherry tomatoes. Every year I grow so many tomatoes that I give pounds of them to my neighbors and friends. So same model, eventually their would be so much cannabis that it would be free. We still would need to get a card or permit, but eventually it would be free.
    Well before the reality of the MMA I had friends who grew there own and yes they gave it away.

  19. brian says:

    mabye we should have elected a movie star or snoop dogg for govnor. its all bull shit the government does all the same things they say we do wrong with mmj they even have patents and signed paper stateing. it has medicineal uses. period end of story but well poltics and money.

  20. barry says:

    this is fucked up. these politicians who voted on this are hicks and rednecks and obstructionist in thier views. they should be put out to pasture with all the other backward thinking idiots who live in montana. these people are evil, braindead, and a sorry excuse for humanity. helena is embarrassing. they hate us and would just as soon see us dead…………..

  21. 0n3guy says:

    I’m from sidney mt, and if you’ve heard of ‘McNutt’ then you can figure what kind of place it is here, plenty of folks are normal, but then you’ve got the far right bible thumpers…

    but the funniest part is, hearing all of these bible thumpers pissed off over Medical Marijuana reform.


    McNuttjob…. enjoy your term, Montanans,from the look of it… probably won’t be giving you another one…

  22. Sir J.W. Balentien says:

    Fuck this. I’m living in the hills and living off my home grown.

  23. penny says:

    mabye we should have elected a movie star or snoop dogg for govnor.

  24. Jason says:

    Well, to my mind it seems impossible to legislate how much pain someone is in. Sure, in severe cases an xray might prove that a patient is in terrible pain but in many instances an xray won’t show anything. In other words, it doesn’t prove the absence of pain. That’s basically impossible. The government should not be involved to this degree in medicine proven to relive suffering with a minimum of side effects. Sorry for the rant but our hemp growing founding fathers must be rolling in their graves.