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Montana’s New Voter-Approved MMJ Rules Are Now In Effect

Montana’s new medical cannabis rules took effect yesterday, requiring providers to test, label, and track plants from seed to sale, the Associated Press reports. The new rules were approved by voters in 2016 after lawmakers passed laws effectively gutting the state’s medical cannabis program.

Some rules have not been finalized. The Department of Health and Human Services is still tweaking some rules, including rolling back the 50-square-foot maximum per-patient on canopy size, claiming it is too much. The department plans to announce their proposed limit on Friday, but it wouldn’t take effect until at least May. The agency has granted a 20-day grace period from pesticide testing to give providers more time to comply with the new rules. The seed-to-sale tracking system will be rolled out gradually and providers won’t have to use the system until their renewal is due or Dec. 31, whichever comes first.

Not everyone is required to test right away. Providers with less than 10 patients are not required to test their products until 2020. The state currently has 577 total registered providers.

New fees and licenses include: Cannabis industry employee permits; annual provider licensing fees between $1,000 and $5,000 depending on patients counts; and providers must pay a 4 percent tax on gross sales.

The new regime also allows registered cardholders to consume cannabis at dispensaries; however, Kate Cholewa, spokeswoman for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association told the AP that providers have not yet considered opening lounges or other social-use spaces.

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