Montana medical marijuana regulations are changing. The new laws concern testing and labeling which officials hope will help them keep a closer tab on plants through their entire seed to sell cycle. The Department of Public Health and Human Services will give a grace period of 20 days to providers to implement pesticide testing.

Originally, regulations stated providers could have 50 square feet of canopy space per patient. Believing this amount too large, lawmakers have lowered it to 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. For medical marijuana card holders, the new allowable amounts are one-ounce of useable marijuana if the individual has named a provider. And if a cardholder has not named a provider, then he or she can have up to four plants, 12 seedlings, and one ounce of usable marijuana in possession.

Montana Medical Marijuana On-Site Consumption

In Montana, medical marijuana cardholders will be able to consume products at dispensaries. As of yet, there has been no approval of social consumption in the form of cannabis clubs though. It would have to be only on site of the dispensary.

New Rules Mean a New Licensing Process

Medical marijuana providers now go through an updated online licensing system that also tracks all plants. But depending on renewal dates, providers won’t need to go through this new online process unless they are renewing their license. Dec. 31, 2018, is the deadline for renewals.

Presently in Montana, there are 577 registered providers. Per the new laws, every new marijuana harvest from these providers will be sent to a testing lab. If a provider only has 10 patients or less, they won’t need to have their marijuana tested until 2020. In either case, many providers are likely to experience an increase in patients. Registered patients almost doubled to 26,000 from March of 2017.

New Rules Also Mean New Costs

All newly required lab testing will be an expense for providers themselves to cover. The number of patients a provider has determines annual licensing fees (cost ranges between $1,000 to $5,000). Subsequently, these annual fees will provide almost $2 million each year for the health department to manage medical marijuana in the state. Additional monies include a four percent tax on gross sales as well.

Labs Need Licenses Too

Montana medical marijuana law dictates that state-licensed labs must perform the plant testing. The state currently has four labs equipped to provide the new testing requirements. Two labs have licenses. The other two must acquire their licenses by the end of April. These state-sanctioned labs provide all required product testing so providers stay in compliance.

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