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Highlights of Montana's New Medical Marijuana Law SB 423

Julie Gardener

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Highlights of Montana's New Medical Marijuana Law SB 423​

Senate Bill 423, which became law on May 14, 2011, amends the state's medical marijuana law. The act is due to go into effect on July 1, 2011.


♦ Your existing card is still valid until it expires; you'll renew under the new rules.

♦ The same medical conditions will continue to qualify you, but if your diagnosis is "severe chronic pain", the new law is much more strict. The pain must be persistent and of severe intensity, and objectively proven by an X-ray or MRI, or a second physician must confirm the diagnosis after a physical exam.

♦ You must be a Montana resident.

♦ Once you have your card, if you do not choose a provider, you'll be able to possess 12 seedlings, 4 mature flowering plants, and 1 ounce of usable marijuana. By choosing a provider, you give up your right to grow for yourself.
Failure to notify the state of a change of address within 10 days voids your card.

♦ You must carry your medical marijuana card with you at all times.
Parents wishing to register their minor children need a second doctor's recommendation, must submit fingerprints for an FBI background check, and agree that the minor will never smoke marijuana, only use infused products.

♦ People under department of corrections supervision are not eligible.
Gardens may not be combined and shared, unless you are relatives by blood or marriage.

♦ Drivers may be compelled via search warrant to provide a blood sample. 5ng/ml is cause for a DUI charge.

♦ If your drivers license is revoked for DUI, your medical marijuana card must be surrendered.


♦ A new "provider" registration process is supposed to be available by June 1st, 2011. Anyone who wishes to grow marijuana for someone else will be subject to a fingerprint background check by the FBI, as well as a financial background check (unpaid taxes, student loans, child support).

♦ If you do not get one of the new cards in June, you must bring in all your plants and product to local law enforcement for destruction before July 1st.

♦ You may choose to register as a "marijuana-infused products manufacturer" instead of, or in addition to, registering as a "provider" (grower).

♦ If approved, providers will be allowed to grow 4 mature plants and 12 seedlings each for up to 3 patients.

♦ Nobody can sell anything to anyone. No money, nothing of value may be exchanged for marijuana, except that the patient may reimburse the provider for the state application fee.

♦ Infused product manufacturers must use separate cookware from that which they prepare "normal" food, and are subject to local health department food preparation rules.

♦ You must carry your provider card with you at all times.

♦ Law enforcement will be automatically notified of the location of your garden. You may have only one. Law enforcement can conduct unannounced inspections during business hours.

♦ Gardens cannot be combined or shared.

♦ Must keep a complete set of records showing all transactions with cardholders (by name and ID number), open for inspection by law enforcement at any time during business hours.

♦ Advertising of any kind is prohibited, including via electronic media (websites, email). This provision is effective upon passage – mid-May.


♦ Must describe in writing the medical condition, why it is debilitating, and the extent to which it is debilitating.

♦ Must confirm that they have assumed primary responsibility for caring for the patient.

♦ Must describe the range of other medications and treatments used to treat the condition.

♦ Must confirm that they have reviewed all other medications and supplements and considered their possible interaction with marijuana.

♦ Must confirm they have explained the potential risks of marijuana.

♦ May not affiliate in any way with providers or infused products manufacturers.

♦ May not examine patients where marijuana is being grown.

♦ May not offer a discount or incentive to a patient for choosing a particular provider.

♦ Will be reported to the Board of Medical Examiners if they recommend for more than 25 patients in a year. This will trigger a formal review of the physician's practices, for which the physician will be responsible for the costs.

♦ Telemedicine recommendations will constitute "unprofessional conduct" under 37-1-316.

Source: Montana NORML
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