In the 2020 general election, 57% of Montana voters voted in favor of Initiative 190, which established a law to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for adults 21 and older. After much debate, the state legislature later approved House Bill 701 in April 2021 to make some modifications to the voter-approved measure while maintaining most of its key provisions. Gov. Gianforte signed the implementation bill in May 2021. Below is a summary of the legislation.
Personal use of cannabis
Adults 21 and older are permitted to possess and purchase up to one ounce of cannabis, which may include up to eight grams of concentrate and/or up to 800 mg of THC in edible form.
Adults may cultivate up to two cannabis plants in their home, with no more than four plants per household. Any excess cannabis produced by plants grown by an individual in a private residence may also be kept in a secure, locked location.
Adult-use cannabis industry regulations
The Montana Department of Revenue is the primary agency tasked with establishing and regulating the adult-use cannabis market.
The department is authorized to accept applications and issues licenses for the cultivation, manufacture, production, distribution, transportation, and retail sale of cannabis.
Retail sales of adult-use cannabis are scheduled to begin in January 2022.
Between January 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023, the department may only issue adult-use cultivation, manufacture, and retail licenses to existing medical cannabis businesses.
Cannabis flower is capped at 35% THC.
Edible products may not contain more than 100 mg of THC, with no more than 10 mg per serving size.
Further potency limits may be enacted through regulations.
Tax rate and revenue distribution
A 20% tax is imposed at the point of sale of cannabis products to adult consumers.
Local governments may impose an additional tax of up to 3% on the sale price of cannabis products.
After reserving funds necessary for the continued implementation and regulation of the adult-use cannabis market, tax revenue generated from cannabis sales will be distributed in the following order:
Up to $6 million into the HEART Fund to support addiction recovery programs;
20% to the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks for conservation efforts;
3% OR $200,000, whichever is less, to veterans' services;
$450,000 to law enforcement agencies; and
The remainder is deposited into the state’s general fund.
In counties where a majority of voters supported I-190, local governments may not prohibit the establishment of adult-use cannabis businesses.
In counties where a majority of voters voted against I-190, adult-use cannabis businesses are not permitted to operate until a local government has approved them.
A special administrative judge will be appointed to process petitions to expunge prior criminal records for cannabis-related activities that are permitted or decriminalized under the legalization law.
Parents may not be denied adoption, custody, or visitation rights with a child for lawful cannabis-related activities.
A person may not be denied access to an organ transplant for lawful cannabis-related activities.