Montana’s New Medical Cannabis Law — For Now

July 1st, 2011 by admin Leave a reply »

Recently we posted a bullet-list summary of the implications of SB 423, if it were to become law. The MTCIA lawsuit succeeded in blocking some of the most onerous portions of the law yesterday. Here is what remains (new info in bold):


  • Your existing card is still valid until it expires (unless you are on probation, in which case your card may offer no protection. The judge suggested that courts decide whether probations should be eligible on a case-by-case basis); eligible patients will be able 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.
  • Your out of state recommendation offers no protection.


  • Anyone who wishes to grow marijuana for someone else will be subject to a fingerprint background check by the FBI (as of October 1st), 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 unlimited 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.

Next step? The referendum to block all of SB 423 until it can be voted on by the people in 2012.



  1. Andrew says:

    In what world do plants go from seedlings to mature overnight. Are the people making these laws and decisions even from Montana. Do any of them understand anything about agriculture. We have a word in Montana for the way these politicians are acting, its called SUSPICIOUS. IT’S TIME FOR MONTANANS TO STAND UP AND TAKE THERE HOME BACK, AND LET THIS OPPRESION STOP.

  2. bob petersen says:

    May I suggest a bit of civil disobedience? I notice I am now required to carry my card at ALL TIMES. I cannot believe it is constitutional to tell me I have to carry ANY ID! What next, all patients must wear a yellow st, uh I mean a Green Leaf on our clothes? I would suggest a bunch of us leave only our MMJ card at home and go to the local courthouse at the same appointed time and turn ourselves in. Demand a trial by jury-they have set penalties at $1,000 and/or 1 year in jail so you are entitled to a jury. I might also suggest (though I PERSONALLY would NEVER do this!) that instead of turning seedlings in they might end up transplanted into flower beds at courthouses, churches, malls and shopping centers etc. And sow, sow everywhere you see dirt. If weed were growing on every block they would have to give up! I have seen the hemp stands in Nebraska and Kansas first hand-get it started and you can’t kill it! Any other ideas for CIVIL action out there?

  3. john says:

    •Anyone who wishes to grow marijuana for someone else will be subject to a fingerprint background check by the FBI (as of October 1st), 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.
    ….the second statement is confusing..WHAT NEW card? I have 10 Patients so do they fill out the NEW Change Request Form? Since the judge didn’t make his ruling until June 30th what Ruling are Caregiver/Providers need to be in compliance with?

  4. There are no caregivers anymore; all your patients need to fill out a a change request and name you as their Provider. You will need to pay $50 and attest that you have no unpaid taxes, student loans, etc.

    The provider form is here:

  5. longbud says:

    I spoke to an attorney and he said that people on probation that have a valid card are still legal.And that it was up to the court for future patients that are on probation.

  6. There is some debate about this. DPHHS agrees with your attorney, DOJ does not. We are looking for test cases, and I am in touch with Goetz about this.

  7. mmc says:

    so if we get pulled over the cop can get a warrant and take our blood. what if we havnt smoked in houres but still in system? And I have just lost my licence about three months ago to a DUI now i have to surrender my card?

  8. mmc says:

    one more, so my brother and i as providers cant grow under the same roof?

  9. vaporgirl says:

    Clarification on the statements below. The revoking of a driver’s license refers to a cannabis DUI that causes the cannabis card to be revoked, right?

    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.

  10. David Williams says:

    I think Mt. is heading in the right direction, maybe study forming collectives or cooperatives under a copassionate use guidline. Things were getting out of hand before, the new direction will take some time and vision.

  11. kenneth says:

    I’m really concerned i have 27 days left on probation and i check in on the 16th and she told me to bring my card with me which seems very wierd. cause she already has a copy. I’m not sure what to do??? ive done three yrs perfect the only troble ive had was when i got my card, which wasnt right. can she just take my card away or does it have to be a judge? and can i get in troble for taken my medicine or not until they take my card?? if they do. please help?? thank u

  12. Pierre says:

    To Kenneth:
    Talk to a lawyer before you go anywhere near your PO with the card! The way things are here in MT I would keep your card in a very safe place until you know for certain what a lawyer has to tell you!
    You don’t give a lot of info in your letter so it’s hard to suggest anything because we don’t know the ENTIRE story, giving advice to someone when you don’t know ALL the lines in the plot/play or whatever you want to call this thing called life is exteremely dangerous for all parties involved!
    You’re VERY lucky to have finished your paper trail with the state as well, I’ve known several guys that have started out with just a short time left and ended up going to DL, so congrats on getting off paper with the state of MT.

  13. guest says:

    Has anyone been denied renewel that is on probation since 423?

  14. Shelley Marie says:

    I previously held a mmj card but let it expire. I am applying for a job that requires a background check. Will the fact that I held a mmj card show up in this background check? What do I reply when asked if I’ve ever used illegal drugs. Any body?

  15. josh says:

    why is this so confusing to most of you…..just read. if your blood related then you can share growing space or grow under the same roof…..every state that has medical pot requires you to carry a card….how eles would you prove to a cop you were a card holder….if you didnt have to carry a card then they would have the right to know every card holders name(wich is illeagle under the disabilty act cause they have no right to know why you have it or publish a list of names) this state is backwards but it is the PEOPLES FAULT….how meny clubs opened in one year…..sence we abused it we need to pay for it. i helped open clubs in california, oregon and washington….all were opened under collectiv or coop rules(only leagle way according to William Panzer a federal layer) there are no clubs in montana that were leagle( belive me i worked for most of em)…..SOME ONE NEEDS TO SET UP A STATE MODEL….show em what it should be…..also he people vs kelly set forth case law stating that if you Dr. is willing to write you a recomendation saying you can grow more then 4 pants then you can grow as meny as your Dr says you can. WHY would any of you grow with out knowing and educateing your selfs…..this is all no ones fault but the people who were abusing it(EVERYONE) learn what you are talking about!!!!! the best way to get around the law is to know the law….SO LEARN THE LAW!!!!! only by playing by the rules will we ever get anywhere we want to be

  16. Steve Dave says:

    Hello all. I recently returned from a stent in San Francisco and I’m a current card holder in that state. How exactly do I go about getting my card here? What do I need to do to be able to walk into a store and get my damn medicine? Please, all help is greatly appreciated.