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Montana Laws & Penalties

Offense Penalty Incarceration   Max. Fine  

Possession

Personal Use

Less than 60g (first offense) misdemeanor 6 mos $ 500
Less than 60g (second offense) misdemeanor 3 years $ 1,000
More than 60g felony 5 years $ 50,000

With intent to distribute

Any amount felony 20 years $ 50,000

Sale or Delivery

Any amount with or without compensation felony 1 year* - life $ 50,000
From an adult to a minor felony 2 years* $ 50,000
Within 1000 feet of school grounds felony 3 years* - life $ 50,000
* Mandatory minimum sentence

Cultivation

Less than 1 lb or 30 plants felony 10 years $ 50,000
Second or subsequent offense is punishable by twice the term of imprisonment and twice the authorized fine.

Hash & Concentrates

Possession of 1 gram or less misdemeanor 6 mos $ 500
Possession of more than 1 g felony 5 years $ 1,000
Manufacture felony 10 years $ 50,000
Penalties for the sale or possession with the intent to sell hashish are the same as for marijuana. Please see the marijuana penalties section for further details.

Paraphernalia

Possession, manufacture, or delivery of paraphernalia misdemeanor 6 mos $ 500
To a person under 18 who is at least 3 years younger misdemeanor 1 year $ 1,000

Civil Asset Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized.

Miscellaneous

Use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture felony 10 years $ 0
Continuing criminal enterprise results is a felony punishable by double or triple fine and imprisonment.
Possession of marijuana on a train results in additional penalties.
Storing marijuana results in additional fines.
Anyone convicted of a misdemeanor must attend a mandatory drug education course.
Imprisonment for felonies may be eligible for suspended or deferred imposition, which may include commitment to a drug treatment facility, community service, or driver's license revocations.

Penalty Details

Marijuana is a Schedule I hallucinogenic substance under the Controlled Substances Chapter of the Montana Code Annotated. It is also considered a dangerous drug.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 50-32-101
  • Montana Code Ann. § 50-32-222(4)(t)

Possession for Personal Use

Possession of 60 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months imprisonment and a fine of $100 - $500. A second offense is punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000. Possession of more than 60 grams is a felony punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-102

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Possession of any amount of marijuana with intent to distribute is a felony punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-103(3)

Sale/Delivery

Distribution of any amount of marijuana, with or without compensation, is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 1 year and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-101(4)

Distribution of any amount, with or without compensation, from an adult to a minor is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000. Penalties significantly increase for repeat offenses.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-101(5)

Distribution of any amount, with or without compensation, within 1,000 feet of school grounds is a felony punishable by a minimum of 3 years and maximum of life imprisonment and a fine up to $50,000. It is an affirmative defense to this charge if the distribution occurred within the confines of a private residence and no one under the age of 18 was present in the residence.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-109

Cultivation

Cultivation of up to 1 pound or 30 plants of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to $50,000. Cultivation of more than 1 pound or 30 plants is a felony punishable by a minimum of 2 years to a maximum of life imprisonment and a fine up to $50,000. A second or subsequent offense for cultivation of marijuana is punishable by twice the term of imprisonment and twice the authorized fine for the first offense.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-110

Hash & Concentrates

Montana lists both Marijuana and Tetrahydrocannabinols in Schedule I of the Montana Controlled Substances Schedule. The statute defines Marijuana as all plant material of the genus Cannabis containing THC. Tetrahydrocannabinols are defined as substances contained in the resinous extractives of Cannabis, not requiring any plant matter be present.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. §50-32-101
  • Montana Code Ann. §50-32-222

The penalties for the sale of any amount of Marijuana and Tetrahydrocannabinols are equal.

See:

  • Montana code Ann. §45-9-101(4)

The penalties for possession of Tetrahydrocannabinols are differentiated by weight:

For the first offense, possession of 1 gram or less of Tetrahydrocannabinol is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of no less than $100 and no greater than $500, as well as a term of incarceration not to exceed 6 months in a county jail.

For all subsequent offenses, possession of one gram or less of Tetrahydrocannabinol is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in a county jail, or a felony punishable by up to 3 years in a state prison, as well as a fine not to exceed $1000.

Possession of any amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol greater than 1 gram is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in a state prison as well as a fine not to exceed $50,000.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. §45-9-102(2), (5)

The penalties for possession with intent to distribute any amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol are equal to those for the possession with intent to distribute any amount of Marijuana.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. §45-9-103

Distribution of Tetrahydrocannabinol within 1000 feet of the real property of a school, whether public or private, elementary or secondary, is a felony punishable by up to life imprisonment, with a 3 year mandatory minimum and a fine not to exceed $50000.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. §45-9-109

For the first offense, manufacture of any amount Tetrahydrocannabinol is a felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $50,000. For any offense occurring after a prior conviction for manufacture of a dangerous drug, manufacture of Tetrahydrocannabinol is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of no less than $100,000.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. §45-9-110

Paraphernalia

Possession, manufacture, or delivery of paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 month imprisonment and/or a fine up to $500. However, if the delivery was from a person aged 18 or older to a person under the age of 18 who is at least 3 years younger, then the offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a fine up to $1,000.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-10-103 to 105

Sentencing

Imprisonment for felonies involving dangerous drugs may be eligible for suspended or deferred imposition. Conditions of this suspension or deferral may include commitment to a drug treatment facility for up to 1 year, up to 2,000 hours community service in a drug education or treatment facility, driver’s license revocations (6 months for first offense, 1 year for a second offense, and 3 years for a third or subsequent offense), among others.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-202

Those convicted of a first-time possession of 60 grams or less offense are presumed to be eligible for deferred imposition of a sentence of imprisonment. For suspended or deferred sentencing of a first time possession offense of under 60 grams, the minimum fine of $100 must be imposed as a condition.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-102

Forfeiture

Vehicles and other property may be seized for controlled substance violations. However, a vehicle may not be seized if it was used or intended for use for transported 60 grams of marijuana or less. Within 45 days of seizure of the property, the seizing agency must file a forfeiture proceeding. The court will then issue a summons and notice to all those with interest in the property. Those with an interest must file an answer within 20 days after the service of the summons, or the property is forfeited to the state.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. §§ 44-12-102 to 103
  • Montana Code Ann. §§ 44-12-201 to 203
  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-206

Miscellaneous

Use or possession of property subject to criminal forfeiture

Use or possession of property that one knows is subject to criminal forfeiture for involvement with drug offenses is a felony punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-206
Continuing criminal enterprise

Any person who commits a felony under the Controlled Substances Chapter which was part of a series of 2 or more violations on separate occasions, included 5 people or more, and from which substantial income was made is guilty of a felony punishable by twice the term of imprisonment and fine authorized for the underlying offense. A second or subsequent violation of this offense results in triple the penalties authorized for the underlying offense.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-125
Carrying dangerous drugs on a train

Possession of marijuana on a train is an offense that is punishable by the same penalties of and in addition to the possession itself.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-127
Mandatory fine for possession and storage of dangerous drugs

Every person found to have possessed or stored marijuana shall be fined, in addition to other fines, an amount which is 35% of the market value of the marijuana.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-130
Mandatory drug education course

Anyone who is convicted of drug offense characterized as a misdemeanor must attend a dangerous drug information course.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-208
Suspended or deferred imposition

Imprisonment for felonies involving dangerous drugs may be eligible for suspended or deferred imposition. Conditions of this suspension or deferral may include commitment to a drug treatment facility for up to 1 year, up to 2,000 hours community service in a drug education or treatment facility, driver's license revocations (6 months for first offense, 1 year for a second offense, and 3 years for a third or subsequent offense), among others.

See:

  • Montana Code Ann. § 45-9-202
Conditional Release

The state allows conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for people facing their first prosecutions. Usually, conditional release lets a person opt for probation rather than trial. After successfully completing probation, the individual's criminal record does not reflect the charge.

Drugged Driving

This state has a per se drugged driving law enacted. In their strictest form, these laws forbid drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have a detectable level of an illicit drug or drug metabolite (i.e., compounds produced from chemical changes of a drug in the body, but not necessarily psychoactive themselves) present in their bodily fluids above a specific, state-imposed threshold. Further information about cannabinoids and their impact on psychomotor performance is available here. Additional information regarding cannabinoids and proposed per se limits is available here.

Hemp

This state has an active hemp industry or has authorized research. Hemp is a distinct variety of the plant species cannabis sativa L. that contains minimal (less than 1%) amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and other products. For more information see NORML's Industrial Use section.

Mandatory Minimum Sentence

When someone is convicted of an offense punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge must sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence or to a higher sentence. The judge has no power to sentence the defendant to less time than the mandatory minimum. A prisoner serving an MMS for a federal offense and for most state offenses will not be eligible for parole. Even peaceful marijuana smokers sentenced to "life MMS" must serve a life sentence with no chance of parole.

Medical Marijuana

This state has medical marijuana laws enacted. Modern research suggests that cannabis is a valuable aid in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications. These include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant and emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors, and are neuroprotective. For more information see NORML's Medical Marijuana section.







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