Montana Medical Marijuana

SUMMARY: Sixty-two percent of voters approved Initiative 148 on November 2, 2004. The law took effect that same day. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess written documentation from their physicians authorizing the medical use of marijuana. Patients diagnosed with the following illnesses are afforded legal protection under this act: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe or chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to seizures caused by epilepsy; or severe or persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to spasms caused by multiple sclerosis or Crohn's disease. Patients (or their primary caregivers) may possess no more than six marijuana plants. The law establishes a confidential state-run patient registry that issues identification cards to qualifying patients.


Senate Bill 423, which became law on May 14, 2011, amends the state's medical marijuana law. The act went into effect on July 1, 2011. Among the changes mandated by this act:

  • Chronic pain patients will face more stringent requirements to qualify under the law, and in some cases may require a recommendation from two separate physicians;
  • Patients found guilty of marijuana DUI will have their medical marijuana privileges revoked;
  • Advising physicians will be reported to the Board of Medical Examiners if they recommend for more than 25 patients per year; Physician will be responsible for the costs of this investigation;
  • Caregivers may accept no monetary compensation for providing cannabis to qualified patients.

A comprehensive summary of the primary provisions of SB 423 may be found here. Full text of the measure is online here.

Several provisions of SB 423 are presently being litigated in court.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA STATUTES: Montana Medical Marijuana Act, Mont. Code Ann. §§ 50-46-1 to 50-46-2 (2007).

CONTACT INFORMATION: www.dphhs.mt.gov/medicalmarijuana/

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