Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: January 03, 2022
Adult-use cannabis sales begin at the start of the 2022!
As of January 1, adults in Montana can now purchase cannabis from licensed retail stores across the state!
Thanks to the efforts of New Approach Montana, the 2020 ballot initiative campaign supported and led by MPP, along with 57% of voters who approved the pair of legalization measures, cannabis sales are no longer relegated to an underground market in Montana. House Bill 701, approved by state lawmakers in 2021, made some modifications and has guided implementation of the voter-approved legalization policy.
For now, adults in Montana may purchase cannabis in stores located in so-called “green counties” — where a majority of voters approved Initiative 190. Other counties will require approval via local referendum to allow adult-use cannabis sales. You can view a map of which counties allow sales here.
Adults who plan to stop by a cannabis store should bring ID as proof that they are 21 or older — and to avoid a ticket, adults must keep their package unopened and stored in the glove compartment or trunk of a car when transporting cannabis.
Gov. Gianforte signs adult-use legalization implementation bill
After a series of back-and-forths in the state legislature, Montana lawmakers agreed on a plan to move ahead with legalization in May this year after voters approved Initiative 190 and Constitutional Initiative 118 to legalize cannabis for adults by a considerable margin in November 2020.
The final version of House Bill 701 makes modifications to the voter-approved law but keeps most of I-190’s original language intact. Montana’s network of activists who supported the ballot measure last year successfully fended off a series of last-minute attempts to make significant changes that would have undermined the will of the voters.
With the governor’s signature, HB 701 establishes January 1, 2022 as the starting date for legal cannabis sales in Montana. Home cultivation will still be allowed, but adults are now limited to two plants (up to four per household). The bill also appoints a special administrative judge and establishes a dedicated court process specifically to expedite expungements for individuals with prior low-level marijuana offenses on their records. Read a comprehensive summary of the legislation here.
Montana voters approve CI-118 and I-190 to legalize marijuana adults 21 and older!
In the 2020 Election, Montanans passed two complementary ballot initiatives to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older. Constitutional Initiative 118, which amends the Montana Constitution to set the legal age for marijuana at 21, passed 58% to 42%. The statutory measure, Initiative 190, which outlines a comprehensive system of legalization overseen by the Montana Department of Revenue, passed by a similar margin, 57% to 43%.
Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project and director of the New Approach Montana ballot campaign, said, “This is a great day for Montana. These initiatives will expand access to medical marijuana, generate millions in new tax revenue, and end the injustice of arresting Montanans for personal marijuana possession. Montana joins a growing number of states that have replaced a failed policy of prohibition with a common sense approach to marijuana."
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The beginning of 2022 officially marks a major milestone in the decades-long effort to reform Montana’s cannabis policies. As of January 1, adults in Montana can now purchase cannabis from licensed retail stores across the state!