On November 2, 2004, 62% of Montana voters approved Initiative 148. It removed state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of medical marijuana by patients. However, patients need to possess written documentation from their physicians authorizing the medical use of marijuana.
Qualifying patients must register with the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and obtain a medical marijuana card.
On June 1, 2011, Senate Bill 423 made significant changes to Montana’s existing medical marijuana law, changing the application process to require a Montana driver’s license or state issued ID card — patients with a chronic pain diagnosis, require a second physician.
How do I get a medical marijuana card in Montana?
You must fill out the required forms and provide a physician’s recommendation, the $5 fee, and valid MT driver’s license or a MT state issued identification card.
Who qualifies for Medical Marijuana in MT?
To qualify for medical marijuana in Montana, you must have one of the severe debilitating medical conditions on the program’s list. The qualifying conditions include:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Severe chronic pain that is a persistent pain of severe intensity that significantly interferes with daily activities as documented by the patient’s treating physician and objective proof or confirmation from another doctor.
- Intractable nausea or vomiting
- Epilepsy or an intractable seizure disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Painful peripheral neuropathy
- A Central Nervous System disorder resulting in chronic, painful spasticity or muscle spasms
- Admittance into hospice care in accordance with rules adopted by the department or any other medical condition or treatment for a medical condition approved by the legislature.
Can the list of qualifying conditions be added to?
Yes, the I-182 initiative would add PTSD to the list of qualifying conditions, so there are ways for the list to be expanded.
Where can I find a medical marijuana doctor in Montana?
Any licensed physician can recommend marijuana to their patient if they are diagnosed with any of the qualifying conditions.
Dispensaries in MT
There are about 13 operational dispensaries in Montana. This will be problematic if the 2011 initiative goes into effect. If dispensaries are limited to 2-3 patients how could the 12,000 plus registered patients possibly be served?
What can patients find in a Montana dispensary?
Most marijuana products are available to patients at Montana dispensaries. They are allowed to carry marijuana flowers, tinctures, edibles, and extracts.
Are MT patients shielded from discrimination?
A medical card in Montana will protect from prosecution. However, employers are not required to accommodate medical marijuana users, and they can still fire employees if they find out they’re using medical marijuana. Many people have tried to challenge these firings in court at the state level but so far in Oregon, California, and Montana the courts have continued to rule for the employer.
The future of Montana’s medical marijuana program
The Montana Marijuana Program may change in the near future if the advocate backed initiative makes the November ballot then passes. If not significant changes to the way MT’s medical program operates are to be expected. A mass shutdown of Montana dispensaries is being predicted. Hopefully, the I-182 initiative passes and MT medical marijuana patients can keep receiving their medicine with minimal hassle.