Adult-Use Marijuana Frequently Asked Questions

May 20, 2021

Is adult-use marijuana possession and use legal in Montana?

As of January 1, 2021, adults 21 and over may possess and use up to one ounce of marijuana with no criminal penalties. 

However, marijuana consumption and possession (including medical marijuana) remains prohibited in public and certain other locations. It is also prohibited under federal law on all federal lands and waters.  

Marijuana (except medical marijuana) is prohibited in hospitals and other health care facilities. 

Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana remains illegal. 

Contact your local law enforcement agency for more information.

Is it legal now to buy or sell marijuana in Montana?

No, except that providers licensed under the Montana Medical Marijuana Program may sell marijuana and marijuana products to registered cardholders in the program. An individual cardholder may possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana (or the equivalent in concentrates or edibles), and may purchase up to 5 ounces per month, but may not distribute it to other people. 

When will adult-use sales begin in Montana?

Certain medical marijuana licensees will be allowed to also sell adult-use marijuana starting on January 1, 2022.

Will adult-use marijuana be available for sale in all Montana counties on January 1, 2022?

No. In counties where the majority of voters supported Initiative 190 in November 2020, adult-use sales may occur starting in January 2022. In counties where the majority of voters opposed Initiative 190, adult-use marijuana sales will remain prohibited. 

Could county change its position on marijuana businesses operating in its locality? 

Yes. In county where the majority of voters opposed Initiative 190, adult-use sales will be allowed if that county holds an election and a majority of the voters choose to allow marijuana businesses to operate in that jurisdiction. 

In a county where the majority of voters supported Initiative 190certain marijuana businesses could be prohibited if that county holds local election and majority of the voters choosto prohibit that type of business from operating. 

What counties approved Initiative 190, and which counties did not? 

Official county-by-county election results for Initiative 190 are here, or see the map below.

Marijuana I-190 map

What types of adult-use marijuana licenses will be available? 

In addition to continuing the Montana Medical Marijuana Program, the Department of Revenue will issue separate licenses for marijuana cultivators, manufacturersdispensaries, transporters, and testing laboratories. 

The Department will offer 13 different cultivation or “canopy” licenses for cultivation facilities of different sizes.  

A worker permit will also be required for any employee participating in any part of a marijuana business. 

Can anyone apply for a license to grow or sell recreational marijuana, or manufacture recreational marijuana products?

No. From January 1, 2022, until July 1, 2023, only Montana medical marijuana licensees who were licensed on November 3, 2020 (or had an application pending with DPHHS on that date) may be issued a license for cultivation, manufacture, or sale of adult-use marijuana.

Is it legal for individuals in Montana to grow their own marijuana?

Adults may cultivate up to two mature marijuana plants and two seedlings for private use in a private residence, subject to certain restrictions. (Medical marijuana cardholders may cultivate up to four mature plants and four seedlings). The plants may not be visible to the public.

Is growing hemp permitted in Montana?

Yes. Hemp growers are licensed by the Montana Department of Agriculture. 

What will the tax be on recreational marijuana?

Recreational marijuana will be taxed at 20% of retail sales.

Medical marijuana will continue to be taxed at 4% of retail sales. 

Local jurisdictions may add an additional tax of up to 3%. 

Will there be limits on the THC content in adult-use marijuana products?

Yes.  

When licensees are able to operate, edible adult-use marijuana products may contain up to 10 mg of THC per serving, and up to 100 mg of THC in an entire package. 

The total psychoactive THC of marijuana flower may not exceed 35%. 

Topical products may contain no more than 6% THC and no more than 800 mg of THC per package. 

A marijuana product sold as a capsule, transdermal patch or suppository, may contain more than 100 mg of THC, and no more than 800 mg of THC in an entire package. 

These limits do not apply to sales by licensed medical marijuana providers to medical marijuana cardholders. 

Will medical marijuana and recreational marijuana be available at the same business? 

Yes. A licensed recreational marijuana provider and licensed medical marijuana dispensary may operate in a shared location. A single entity may also be licensed for both medical and recreational marijuana. 

Are there adult-use marijuana licenses available for tribes? 

Yes. The Department of Revenue may issue a total of eight combined-use licenses (for cultivation and sale), one to each of the eight federally recognized Indian tribes located in Montana (or to a business that is majority-owned by the tribe). Those licensees may operate within 150 air miles of the exterior boundaries of the reservation or tribal service area, if all other licensing conditions are met and they are located in a county that allows recreational marijuana licensees. 

How can I get more information on licensing for adult-use marijuana cultivation, sales, transportation, manufacture, or laboratory testing?

The Department of Revenue is currentlevaluating what rules and processes are necessary about these topics. To receive updates, subscribe at the top of this page.

Will marijuana licensees be permitted to sell their licenses the way alcohol licensees may sell their licenses to buyers approved by the Department? 

No. The marijuana licenses may not be transferred.

 

Withholding

As a cannabis provider, how do I register for a wage withholding account?

You can register your wage withholding account electronically through TransAction Portal (TAP) or by using the Montana Department of Revenue Business Registration (Form GenReg).

As a cannabis provider, do I need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to issue W-2s?

Yes, you cannot issue W-2s to an employee using your Social Security Number (SSN). If you do not currently have an EIN, you can easily apply for one here.

As a cannabis provider, will I be considered and agricultural grower/employer?

No, cannabis is not recognized as an agricultural crop in Montana.

As a cannabis provider, can I compensate my employee(s) with room and board or any other type of non-cash payments?

As defined in 39-51-201, Montana Code Annotated, “Wages means all remuneration payable for personal services, including the cash value of all remuneration payable in any medium other than cash. The reasonable cash value of remuneration payable in any medium other than cash must be estimated and determined pursuant to rules prescribed by the department.” So, if you pay with livestock, living quarters, material goods or other non-cash payments, you must report their market value as wages on a form W-2.

As a cannabis provider, can I give my employees a 1099 NEC (Nonemployee Compensation) to report wages earned?

No, employee wages and withholding must be reported on the federal form W-2.

As a cannabis provider, when can I report compensation earned on a 1099 NEC?

Compensation reported on a 1099 NEC should only be given to those individuals or entities that are established and engaged in a business of their own. UI law defines an independent contractor as “an individual working under an independent contractor exemption certificate provided for in 39-71-417, MCA”. If you have paid or contemplate paying someone as an independent contractor, the individual should have an independent contractor exemption certificate. You should ask for a copy of that and retain it for your records.

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