An adult-use program in Montana may be on the way. Now, is the time to do the research and use cannabis consulting in Montana to get a head-start on this new market. Many things about this ballot are unique, such as the tiered canopy system and license types. We explain everything in this article, read along because marijuana in Montana may be the move for you.
Current Marijuana Market in Montana
Medical marijuana is currently legal in Montana. The legal medical marijuana market has been active for quite a long time. In 2004, the people of Montana approved I-148, a medical marijuana initiative. But, in 2011, the state put a limit on the number of patients a provider could service. Then, that law was repealed in 2016, making medical marijuana much easier to access. Now, we may see recreational marijuana in the near future. Our cannabis consultants at Quantum 9 are here to explain the current and new markets. It just may be time to consider cannabis consulting in Montana.
Current Recreational Marijuana Laws
Recreational marijuana is illegal for adult use in Montana. Actually, the possession of marijuana without a medical marijuana license is still a very serious crime within the state. With that, the legalization of recreational marijuana in Montana would be a huge win for the state.
Statuary Initiative 190, which would legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana in Montana, officially qualifies for the November ballot in 2020. New Approach Montana, a statewide campaign that works to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana made this possible. With that, the people still need to vote and recreational use is still up in the air. This is the first time that the people of Montana vote on recreational marijuana.
If the law passes, individuals over the age of 21 will be able to purchase and consume marijuana, with some regulations of course. Also, this measure establishes a 20% tax of non-medical marijuana.
Montana is not the only state that is voting for recreational marijuana this year. Arizona, New Jersey, and South Dakota also certify for November 2020 ballots. Hopefully, we can see recreational marijuana markets in these states sooner than later. It may be time to utilize cannabis consulting in Montana as well as these other states.
Rules on Recreational Marijuana in 2020
As expected, rules exist with Statuary Initiative 190. As previously mentioned, individuals over the age of 21 are able to use marijuana if the initiative goes through. Also, adults can carry up to an ounce of marijuana with this initiative. With that, adults can carry no more than 8 grams in concentrated form. Lastly, individuals can cultivate up to four plants and four seedlings for their own personal use. Also, smoking marijuana can only be done on private property. A violation of this will result in a fine. The Montana Department of Revenue will be in charge of regulatory responsibility.
What’s the Cannabis License Application Process in Montana?
Since recreational marijuana is not officially legal, the application process is still up in the air. What we do know is that medical cannabis businesses in Montana are the first to enter the recreational market. So, those with medical cannabis businesses have an advantage. That being said, make sure to inquire about cannabis consulting in Montana to have a better understanding of the timeline.
With that, the government would issue cannabis business licenses by January 1, 2022.
Cannabis License Application in Montana
For the first 12 months after the department begins to get applications, the department will only issue licenses to providers, marijuana-infused product providers, and dispensaries that are in good standing with the department of health.
As of now, there are two different license types within the initiative. This includes marijuana-infused providers and adult-use providers.
Also, the department may not prohibit an adult-use provider, adult-use marijuana-infused products provider, or adult-use dispensary licensee from operating at a shared location with a provider, marijuana-infused products provider, or dispensary. This is only if the provider, marijuana-infused products provider, or dispensary is owned by the same person.
Adult-Use Marijuana-Infused Providers Can
- Prepare marijuana-infused products at registered premises
- Use equipment that is used exclusively for the manufacture and preparation of marijuana-infused products
- May cultivate marijuana only for the purpose of making marijuana-infused products
- May not provide a consumer with marijuana in a form that may be used for smoking unless the adult-use marijuana-infused products provider is also a licensed adult-use provider
An Adult-Use Provider or an Adult-Use Marijuana-Infused Product Provider Can:
- Operate adult-use dispensaries.
- Engage in manufacturing.
- Employ employees to cultivate marijuana, manufacture marijuana concentrates and marijuana-infused products, and dispense and transport marijuana and marijuana-infused products.
- Provide a small amount of marijuana, marijuana concentrate, or marijuana-infused product cultivated or manufactured on the registered premises to a licensed testing laboratory or the department of agriculture.
- Sell the adult-use provider’s business, including live plants, inventory, material assets, and all licenses in accordance with rules adopted by the department.
Also, something unique about the Montana market includes that a person who obtains and adult-use provider license, an adult-use marijuana-infused products provider license, or an adult-use dispensary license can:
- Cultivate marijuana
- Manufacture marijuana
- Possess marijuana
- Sell marijuana
- Transport marijuana
ALSO, an employee of a licensed adult-use provider or adult-use marijuana-infused products provider can cultivate, manufacture, possess, sell, and transport marijuana. Obviously, everyone must follow the rules from the department. More information about this can be found in Section 4 of the document.
Tiered Canopy System
The department will develop a tiered licensing system for recreational marijuana-infused providers. This includes cannabis cultivation. Individuals may advance in tiers if they cultivate more products. This begins with a micro-tier license, which allows for a canopy up to 250 feet at one registered premise. From there, the tiers move up. Check out this graph we created:
The department will issue licenses for the applicants as long as they provide the right information. This information includes personal documents, proof of residency, business location information, etc. Individuals have to obtain a background check as well. More information can be found in Section 9 of the initiative. Talk to our cannabis consultants at Quantum 9 for more information about cannabis consulting in Montana.
Testing Laboratory Licenses
The state laboratory will license testing labs to perform any required testing. The state lab will use the criteria created by 50-46-311 in order to approve these licenses. Secondly, the state lab will use criteria from 50-46-304 to create testing standards for labs.
Also, a licensed adult-use provider, adult-use marijuana-infused products provider, or testing laboratory can operate adult-use dispensaries and work in manufacturing.
Licensing is a Privilege in Montana
Something interesting about this initiative is that the state considers these licenses as privileges rather than rights. Mistakes such as false statements or not following zoning requirements will ruin your chance of obtaining a license.
With that, licensing decisions will be strict. If interested in this department make sure to utilize cannabis consulting in Montana to further help with applications. This is especially important within this market.
Social Equity and Cannabis Consulting in Montana
A social equity program in Montana does not seem to exist. On top of that, Montana has one of the highest arrest rates for Black individuals. We will see how this one plays out since many other legal states have intensive social equity programs. Again, contact our cannabis consultants for more information.
What about Taxes?
When considering cannabis consulting in Montana, it is important to see where the money will go. This initiative would add a 20 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana products within the state. The tax is designated to provide compensation for the economic and social costs of past and current marijuana cultivation, processing, and use. This includes the funding of conservation programs, healthcare that is associated with the impacts of unregulated marijuana, veterans program, and other localities.
A dedicated marijuana compensation state special revenue account will exist. All marijuana sales taxes will be collected into this account.
How About Criminal Records?
Although some changes will affect criminal records for individuals, it seems as if Montana does not really see that as a priority. As previously mentioned, Montana has one of the highest arrest rates for drug possession. So, if recreational marijuana is legal within the state, we would hope to see some reform with it.
Local Control and Cannabis License Applications in Montana
According to Section 18, the local government has the authority to regulate marijuana. So, qualified electors may request elections to prohibit adult-use dispensaries in their area.
All in all, Montana may see recreational marijuana in the future. Also, this initiative allows for opportunities that are not available in other adult-use states. So, take your time researching this market because there is a lot of flexibility in licensing. Direct any questions to our cannabis consultants at Quantum 9 for information about cannabis license applications in Montana.