Is Cannabis Legal in Montana?
Is cannabis legal in Montana? It is now! Montana cannabis laws may have changed in 2021 but the arrival of Jan. 1, 2022, meant the environment actually changed in Big Sky County. Within the month, cannabis businesses here sold $22.5 million in products, the Department of Revenue recently reported, with an estimated $2.9 million in taxes for the state. Here is a look at Montana cannabis legalization.
- Although cannabis is legal in Montana, not all counties approved sales. Therefore, cannabis cannot be obtained everywhere. Only dispensaries with a specialized license may sell. There are currently 29 out of 56 counties that allow sales.
- Be aware not all medical dispensaries are recreational dispensaries, but currently, all recreational dispensaries also sell medical cannabis.
- Taxing rates are as follows:
- Medical sales have a state-required 4% tax, which can be increased by individual counties.
- Recreational sales have a state-required 20% tax, which can be topped with an excise tax of up to 3% by local jurisdictions.
- Bring cash for payment due to federal restrictions on banking, and a legal ID to appease the law, which requires those procuring recreational cannabis to be 21 or older.
- Dispensaries may only sell between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.
- All cannabis products must be produced and tested in Montana.
- Residents of the state, as well as U.S. citizens and international visitors, may buy cannabis in Montana, but the product may not cross state or international lines, or otherwise leave the state.
- Many forms of cannabis are legal to purchase, including the stereotypical “bud,” or flower, as well as edibles, capsules, oil and tinctures.
- Purchases are limited to one ounce per plant product, or eight grams of concentrate or edibles containing up to 10mg of THC. Mixing and matching is an option until the limit is reached. These limits do not apply to medical marijuana.
- Everything bought inside a dispensary must leave the store in a child-proof “exit bag;” these are typically reusable.
Montana Cannabis Laws
- When transporting cannabis, it must be in either unopened packaging, a locked glove box or other storage compartment, a trunk or luggage compartment, or essentially outside the car’s “passenger area.”
- State residents may grow no more than two mature marijuana plants and two seedlings in their private residence and for private use, as long as growth is not visible to the public.
- New recreational marijuana businesses will be allowed to open beginning July 1, 2023, provided their applications have been approved by their county.
- One may not possess a firearm and ammunition, as well as cannabis products at the same time.
- Public consumption is not allowed. This includes sidewalks, parks, and on federal land or waters.
- Operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of cannabis is illegal.
Montana Cannabis Legalization
One little-considered aspect of Montana cannabis legalization, as well as legalization in other U.S. states, is the changes needed within law enforcement. This takes many forms but is especially altering to the K9 Units that utilize specially trained dogs for narcotics detection. Here, training has phased out while some working K9s have been retired, as cannabis is no longer an illegal item to signal.
“What we can’t have is K9s indicating on vehicles, lockers, whatever it is they’re sniffing, on a product that’s legal to be in possession of,” said Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer. “That’s why we don’t have K9s that hit on nicotine or alcohol.”
Throughout the state, 23 agencies have received a combined $300,000 in funding for new law enforcement dogs who are trained to detect dangerous drugs like methamphetamine and fentanyl, but not legal drugs such as marijuana. The high price per pup is due to the extensive training needed.
“There’s a lot of hours (of training) and capabilities these dogs have,” said Officer Derek Dyk, a K9 handler with Bozeman Police Department. “I would actually be willing to say that’s actually on the cheap end, as far as service dogs go. We have to certify every year through American Society of K9 Trainers and go through double blind tests. The K9 unit is held to pretty strict standards as far as the amount of training.”
Is Cannabis Legal in Montana?
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