Montana Releases Proposed Changes for Expanded Medical Marijuana Program

The Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will hold a public hearing Nov. 30 to discuss their newly released medical marijuana (MMJ) rules and regulations for the state’s expanded program.

Passed by the voters of Montana on Nov. 8, 2016, Initiative 182 authorized DPHHS to cultivate new rules and fees for the state’s burgeoning medical marijuana program.

Signed into law on May 19, 2017, Senate Bill 333 ensures elected officials will implement an inventory tracking system, issue licenses for MMJ dispensaries, provide endorsements for chemical manufacturing, establish taxes on providers and fees for dispensaries, and requirements for medical marijuana testing facilities.

Montana Hearing

The public hearing on Montana’s suggested modifications to their medical marijuana program will be held at 1 p.m. in the auditorium of the Department of Public Health and Human Services building, located at 111 N. Sanders, Helena, MT.

The state’s newly suggested medical marijuana rules will parallel other state-run programs that require potency and contamination testing, in addition to monitoring any and all seed-to-sale transactions, according to an email sent to the Billings Gazette by DPHHS spokesman Jon Ebelt.

Though costly, the recommended changes to Montana’s MMJ program represent some much-needed stability for the state’s 20,000 medical marijuana patients who depend on its fiscal sustainability.  

Proposed Changes to MMJ Program

Under the proposed modifications outlined by DPHHS, Montana’s registered cardholders, cultivators, marijuana-infused product providers, dispensaries, workers, and testing facilities will face the following increase in their annual fees:

  • Medical marijuana cardholders: current fee $5.00 | proposed fee $30
  • MMJ providers with more than 10 registered patients: current fee $50.00 | proposed fee $5,000  
  • MMJ providers with less than 10 cardholders: current fee $50 | proposed fee $1,000
  • MMJ testing facilities (four): current fee $0 |  proposed fee $2,000
  • MMJ chemical manufacturer endorsement: current fee $0 | proposed fee $500
  • MMJ  employee fee: current fee $0 |  proposed fee $50
  • MMJ dispensary fee: current fee $0 |  proposed fee of $500

While Montana’s testing and tracking provisions are anticipated to be rolled out no later than April 30, 2018, “they could take effect sooner if DPHHS is ready to implement them.”

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett

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