The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services has unveiled new proposed regulations on medical marijuana in the state – the latest step in a wide-ranging reform of the industry.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers approved Senate Bill 333, which overhauled Montana’s medical marijuana laws. That bill called on DPHHS to create rules to fill in specific details of many larger changes.

Some of the most notable rules the agency is proposing include:

  • Procedures for laboratories to test all marijuana and marijuana-derived products for THC levels, contaminants and other quality issues before they’re sold.
  • Setting up a statewide tracking system that will follow every marijuana plant from the time it’s grown, through production and testing, to the time it’s sold.
  • Requiring thorough labeling for all products, including concentration, consumer warnings and more.
  • Requiring each provider to put together a security plan to prevent products from being stolen or tampered with.
  • Raising the price of a medical marijuana card from $5 to $30, and the price of a provider’s license from $50 to $1,000 for providers serving ten patients or fewer and $5,000 for larger providers.

DPHHS leaders say the agency worked closely with other states that have expanded marijuana regulations, along with legislators and advocates in Montana, when putting the proposal together.

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“It was a big lift by our agency to put these together,” said DPHHS public information officer Jon Ebelt.

Now, DPHHS is opening the proposed rules to public comment. They’ll hold a public hearing on the changes Nov. 30 at 1 p.m., at the DPHHS building in Helena. People can also submit comments by mail or online.

“We’ve already received some comments on the rules that have been really valuable,” Ebelt said. “To get all these different perspectives, I think that will make the rulemaking process and the final drafts of the rules even that much better.”

The public comment period will close on Dec. 7. After that, DPHHS will determine whether any adjustments need to be made.

Once the rules are finalized, the agency will have to give cardholders and providers two months’ notice before putting them into effect. Ebelt said that could happen by next spring.

You can find the full proposed rule changes on the DPHHS website.

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