How to Open a Dispensary in Montana 

6 min read

How to Open a Dispensary in Montana 

February 5, 2023

Montana has a growing and dynamic cannabis industry, with both medical and recreational cannabis being legalized in the state. The legalization of cannabis in Montana has opened up many new business opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors. However, the industry is also facing several challenges, including strict regulations, high taxes, and limited access to traditional banking services. 

The Montana cannabis market is still in its early stages of development, with only a limited number of dispensaries operating in the state. However, the demand for cannabis products is growing rapidly, and many new businesses are entering the market. The state government is actively supporting the industry’s growth by providing licensing and regulatory support to cannabis businesses. 

Despite the challenges, the cannabis business climate in Montana is promising, and there is great potential for growth in the industry. Entrepreneurs and investors who are willing to invest time and resources into the market are likely to see significant returns in the long term. With a supportive government and a growing consumer market, the future of the cannabis business in Montana looks bright. 

In Montana, recreational cannabis was legalized in November 2020, and its implementation was established by measure HB 701, passed by the legislature in April 2021. This allows individuals 21 years and older to possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis and up to eight grams of concentrate. However, they are restricted to purchasing no more than five ounces a month. Montana’s adult-use program now coexists with the state’s medical marijuana program, which has been in place since 2004.

Starting January 1, 2022, Montana legal-age adults can buy cannabis from licensed retail establishments. According to the Department of Revenue, Montana started the first month with $22.6 million in total cannabis sales, including approximately $12.9 million in recreational sales.

The text below contains essential guidelines on how to open a dispensary in Montana. 

How to Get a Dispensary License in Montana

As per the current regulations for Montana’s medical marijuana program, cannabis dispensaries must have three types of licenses: a canopy license, a cultivation license, and a dispensary license. The law mandates that dispensaries must grow their cannabis. They will need to obtain an additional manufacturing license if they want to manufacture concentrates or other products.

Under the new recreational program, cannabis retailers will have permission to sell products grown by other businesses. Still, they are limited to having such products makeup no more than 50% of their total inventory. Dispensaries in Montana can contract out manufacturing as long as the contractor holds the required Tier 1 canopy license under state law. However, selling licenses is prohibited, while businesses themselves can be sold.

In Montana, it is allowed for a licensed recreational cannabis provider and licensed medical cannabis dispensary to operate at the same location. Additionally, a single entity can hold licenses for both medical and recreational cannabis.

Accepting applications for Montana dispensary licenses will renew starting 7/1/2023. During this time, existing businesses may apply for additional dispensary locations. 

Additional General Requirements

  • Businesses may have multiple license types, including Cultivator, Manufacturer, Dispensary, and Transporter. There is no requirement to have multiple license types.
  • Dispensaries may purchase marijuana or marijuana products from other licensed businesses.
  • All sales to registered cardholders or adult-use consumers must be entered in the seed-to-sale tracking system.
  • All employees must have a valid Worker Permit prior to starting work.

The following documents are a must for all applications: 

  • Date of Birth Documentation;
  • Montana Residency Documentation;
  • Fingerprint Consent;
  • Property Ownership or Owner Permission Documentation;
  • Business Organization Chart and Structure Form;
  • Verification of Funding Source;
  • Building and Fire Inspection Reports;
  • Approval by City and County.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Dispensary in Montana?

Annual dispensary fees are $5,000 per location. In addition, applications require a processing fee of 20% of the license fees. Application processing fees are not refundable, regardless of the result of the application.

How to Stay Compliant in Montana 

Choosing the right tech partner is a significant challenge in the cannabis dispensary business in Montana.

There are many things to keep in mind when it comes to compliance, such as inventory management. In accordance with Montana law, licensed retailers have  to use the METRC tracking system to track inventory from seed to sale. 

Metrc is a tracking system for cannabis businesses in the United States. It is designed to help states monitor the production and sale of cannabis by tracking every transaction from seed to sale. This system ensures that businesses comply with state regulations and provides a secure way for the state to collect taxes. 

The Point of Sale (POS) system is an essential component of the Metrc tracking system. The POS system allows businesses to manage sales, inventory, and customer data. The Point of sale software integrates with the Metrc tracking system, allowing businesses to record and track their transactions in real time. This ensures that all sales transactions are accurately recorded and reported to the state, which helps to prevent fraud and monitor inventory levels.

IndicaOnline is an all-in-one compliant solution for dispensaries – POS software, delivery, and e-commerce platforms. We ensure cannabis retailers track and record all cannabis products, including detailed information about each product’s source, quantity, and movement. This information ensures compliance with state laws and provides transparency for regulators and patients. Additionally, POS software allows dispensaries to generate reports automatically for tax and compliance purposes. You never have to worry about inventory updates or customer management with us. Our seamless automation handles it all.  

To find out more about our POS software, visit the link.

How to Get Funding 

Obtaining funding to open a dispensary in Montana through conventional sources such as banks and investment companies can be challenging due to limitations on a federal level. Alternative options include seeking investment from firms specializing in funding cannabis startups or turning to family and friends for support.

Opening a dispensary involves substantial initial costs, as one must cultivate, process, package, and stock a minimum of 50-100% of the products to be sold. This requires setting up a complete seed-to-sale vertically integrated operation from scratch.

However, the Montana market is not dominated by large corporations, as in other states. The application process is affordable and straightforward, with less stringent regulations than in other states. So, having considerable financial resources at the start may not be necessary.

Find the Right Location to Open a Dispensary in Montana

When choosing the location for a cannabis dispensary in Montana, there are several important factors to consider. First, it is crucial to understand the local regulations and laws surrounding the sale and distribution of cannabis products. This includes the state’s specific requirements for licensure, zoning, and taxation. It is also essential to consider the location’s accessibility for customers, including proximity to public transportation, major roads, and ample parking.


Experiencing how to open a dispensary in Montana can be complex, so seeking professional assistance and staying informed of any changes to the laws and regulations before starting a cannabis business is recommended. Please, find more detailed information about Montana marijuana laws here.

As mentioned, the cannabis business climate in Montana is still in its early stages, with the state only recently legalizing recreational use. This has created opportunities for entrepreneurs to enter the market and provide access to cannabis products for consumers. However, the process of opening a dispensary can be complex due to the stringent regulations and licensing requirements set by the state government.

Despite these challenges, the demand for cannabis products in Montana is growing, and the industry has the potential to become a significant economic driver in the state. As the market matures and more players enter the scene, regulations will likely become more streamlined, making it easier for businesses to operate and for consumers to access high-quality products. Overall, the future of the cannabis business in Montana looks promising, and it will be interesting to see how the industry evolves in the coming years. And we will be here to support and keep you updated.