How to start a commercial grow operation in Montana

At ILGM we want everybody to become a master marijuana grower! Unfortunately, it's not legal to grow marijuana in all states. We don't want anyone to break the law and advise to review your local cannabis legislation. ILGM cannot advise on legal matters. Stay safe!

Montana voted to legalize adult-use marijuana in 2020. It also has an established medical marijuana program.  Currently, the Montana medical marijuana market is the only available option for prospective growing operation owners.

Starting January 2022, retail businesses, called “adult-use dispensaries”, will sell recreational marijuana.  Until that time, here is more on starting a medical marijuana growing operations in Montana.

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    In 2020, Montana voters passed Initiative 190 legalizing recreational marijuana. They also approved a constitutional ammendment establishing 21 as the legal age for purchasing, possessing and consuming marijuana. As of January 1, 2021, Adults ages 21 and over may have and use up to one ounce of marijuana with no criminal penalties.

    Prior to the 2020 elections, Initiative 148 ended criminal prosecution for physician – recommended medical cannabis. Patients could have up to six plants, and there was no state-regulated marijuana distribution system. Senate Bill 033 (May 2017) welcomed medical marijuana businesses. It also created provisions for medical cannabis growing operations and testing facilities.

    When was cannabis made legal
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    How many marijuana businesses are there currently in Montana

    There are no recreational marijuana business in Montana as of yet. According to Montana Free Press, HB 701 gives established Montana medical marijuana providers an 18-month head start on the adult-use market. Additionally, dispensaries not already established must wait until July 1, 2023 to apply for an adult-use license from the state.  Recreational consumers will pay a 20% tax. More information on the licensing process is highlighted in House Bill (HB) 701. 

    Growing operations can be limited or banned by local municipalities.  According to Montana’s medical marijuana registry, as of February 2017 over 500 providers were associated with at least one patient.

    How much money is there in the marijuana market

    Medical sales for 2016  reached $19,600,000, while profits rose to $58,000,000 in 2021.

    License requirements

    Under currently active law,  growing operations may supply dispensaries.  Anyone that wants to start a marijuana business by growing can do so, but not-yet-established dispensaries will not be able to apply for an adult-use license from the state until July 2023.  As of November 2017, licensed cultivation facilities can hire those with specific permits to grow and distribute medical marijuana.

    License requirements
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    A marijuana growing operation license in Montana requires a fingerprint background check. You must also be a state resident. Cannabis retailers (providers) cannot have previous marijuana convictions.

    Starting in 2021, adults 21 years and older can grow up to two mature marijuana plants and two seedlings or four mature marijuana plants and four seedlings if they’re registered card holders.

    Financial requirements

    License fees for providers and marijuana-infused products providers are based on the volume of the provider’s production.


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    Allow plenty of time to start your Montana growing operation. Any business takes time, and it’s a good idea to allow a year or more to get finances in order, acquire necessary licenses, and get suppliers and employees lined up.

    Looking to start a marijuana growing operation in Montana? The consulting companies listed below provide a wide range of services. Get help with state licensing requirements and applications or running and stocking your business.

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