Montana

Sixty two percent of Montana voters passed Initiative 148 in 2004, sanctioning the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. Qualified patients must register with the state and pay a $25 application fee. The accepted qualifying conditions remain vague, authorizing medicinal marijuana use for applicants who suffer from cancer, AIDS and any other medical condition that produces cachexia, severe or chronic pain or severe nausea. Unlike many states, Montana also accepts other states’ registered medical marijuana patients’ authorizations. A qualifying patient or licensed caregiver may each possess six marijuana plants and one ounce of usable marijuana. The Montana Department of Health and Human Services does not, however, offer advice or provide referrals on how to obtain or cultivate marijuana. The Department has also adopted a policy of silence on where grow sites are located. Punishment for unregistered users of marijuana can be quite severe. Possessing 60 grams or less is considered a misdemeanor but anything more is an automatic felony. Cultivating or selling marijuana in any quantity is also a felony charge, and cultivating more than 1lb results in a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and $50,000 fine. All drug convictions require the offender take a dangerous drug information course. First offenders may receive leniency and can often serve time on probation rather than go to trial. The offense is then removed from the criminal record after successful completion of probation.