Becoming a Patient in Montana
Note: Initiative 182 goes into effect June 30, 2017. ASA will provide updated information before the new law goes into effect.
Montana issues ID cards allowing qualified patients to use marijuana legally. Patients may designate caregivers to assist them with taking and growing their medicine.
A registered patient may possess up to 4 mature plants, 12 seedlings, and 1 ounce of usable marijuana. A provider or marijuana-infused products provider may possess 4 mature plants, 12 seedlings, and 1 ounce of usable marijuana for each registered cardholder who has named the person as the registered cardholder's provider.
- positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, or acquired immune deficiency syndrome when the condition or disease results in symptoms that seriously and adversely affect the patient's health status
- cachexia or wasting syndrome
- severe chronic pain that is persistent pain of severe intensity that significantly interferes with daily activities as documented by the patient's treating physician and by:
(i) objective proof of the etiology of the pain, including relevant and necessary diagnostic tests that may include
but are not limited to the results of an x-ray, computerized tomography scan, or magnetic resonance imaging; or
(ii) confirmation of that diagnosis from a second physician who is independent of the treating physician and who conducts a physical examination
- 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
- any other medical condition or treatment approved by the legislature.
To register as a medical marijuana patient in Montana, you must submit the following information on forms provided by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.
- Your doctor's recommendation
- Effective July 9, 2016, the Registered Cardholder Application Fee is $5.00
- The patient and other application forms
Either an MD or a DO can issue your recommendation.
Access/ Caregivers/ Dispensaries
You, as a medical marijuana patient, can grow your own medicine. A registered caregiver can also help you grow your medicine.
Be safe. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery under the influence. Do not medicate in public or on school grounds.
A person under 18 can become a patient, but their parent or legal guardian must agree to act as the minor-patient's primary caregiver and control their use. There is a section of the application specifically for minor-patients.
The state maintains a confidential list of patients and caregivers with patient ID cards. Only the Montana department of health and human services and state and local law enforcement agencies may access the list. Law enforcement may only access the list to verify a person's patient status.
The law does not address whether you can be evicted because you are using medical marijuana, even if you have only the amount of medical marijuana allowed by law. Nor does the law directly address a patient living in subsidized housing.
Under federal law medical marijuana is not protected, therefore you might be successfully evicted if you live in federally subsidized housing, even if you follow all of Montana's medical marijuana laws.
Even if you are a registered patient, your employer may still forbid medical marijuana use in the workplace. Montana law does not discuss whether employers are required to accommodate employees who use medical marijuana.
If you have questions about drug testing, you should ask your personal attorney. Although the Montana medical marijuana laws do not specifically address employment discrimination, a qualified patient typically has better chances for remedy if terminated from an existing job, than the same patient would have if discriminated against (as a result of a positive drug test) before being hired.
The law does not require your insurance carrier to cover the costs of your medical marijuana.
Legal protections for qualified patients are limited to Montana registry ID cardholders. If you are a medical marijuana patient from out of state, Montana's medical marijuana laws no longer protect you. (From 2003 to 2011, Montana extended legal protections to cardholders from other states.)
For more information
Department of Public Health and Human Services
P.O. Box 202953
Helena, MT 59620-2953