How to open a Dispensary in Montana

In 2004, Montana legalized medical marijuana. In 2020, voters legalized recreational marijuana. Montana signed the change into law in May 2021 through House Bill (HB) 701. It also included guidelines on licensing for dispensaries. There are two types of dispensaries –  “adult-use”, aka recreational dispensaries,  and medical marijuana dispensaries.

Recreational sales should begin in 2022. The guidelines below cover opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Montana.

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    Voters in Montana overwhelmingly passed Initiative 148, legalizing medical marijuana, in November of 2004. It approved by a 62% to 38% vote. This annulled criminal prosecution for medical cannabis authorized by physicians. It also permits ownership of up to six cannabis plants for home growing, as the law does not take into account a state-regulated dispensary system.

    Senate Bill 033 made Montana open for medical cannabis businesses. It instituted regulations for medical cannabis dispensaries and testing facilities.

    In November 2020, Montana voters approved two ballot measures to legalize marijuana (I-190) and set the legal age to buy marijuana at age 21 (CI-118). Recreational dispensaries will not open until 2022, but guidelines are available in HB 701. Recreational dispensaries will be required to impose a 20% tax.

    How many dispensaries are currently in the state

    Montana currently has no recreational dispensaries.

    How much money is there in the dispensary market

    Medical sales for 2016 reached $19,600,000, while profits are expected to rise to $58,000,000 by 2021. In other words, even before most dispensaries and other retail businesses open, the state’s marijuana industry is thriving and will only get stronger.

    How much money is there in the dispensary market
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    License and Financial Requirements

    In order to receive a marijuana business license in Montana, you must prove that you are a state resident and undergo a fingerprint background check.

    Whether you own an adult-use dispensary, medical marijuana dispensary or both, the license fee is $5,000. Annual license fees for providers is based on the volume of marijuana produced by the provider. A provider of both marijuana and marijuana-infused products needs only one license. License fees for testing labs may not exceed $1,200.

    Montana medical provider licenses are subject to local laws. Local municipalies may limit or ban marijuana businesses.


    It shouldn’t take too long to get a Montana marijuana “dispensary” business started, especially since it isn’t like the traditional dispensary. Since most providers work with a limited number of patients, and the fees are not high, you won’t need as much to get started. Allow a few months to complete the process.

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    Looking to start a marijuana dispensary in Montana? Contact these consulting companies for help with state licensing requirements and applications. They can also help you find the resources to run and stock your business.

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