How to Get a CBD License in Montana & Start Your Business

CBD products that could be sold with a Montana CBD license and a stethoscope in front of a green background.

The Big Sky state has long led the way in legalizing hemp products, having first authorized industrial hemp production in 2001. Since the federal 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD from Schedule 1 status, consumers across the country – including in Montana – have had increased access to CBD products derived from hemp, a plant that contains less than 0.3% THC. That means increased opportunities for enterprising entrepreneurs looking to obtain a CBD license in Montana to sell products to customers with ever-expanding retail options. 

Montana residents who want to start a CBD business first must consider what the requirements are for obtaining a Montana CBD license and hitting the ground running. Read on for all the information you need to comply with rules and regulations in the Big Sky state.

How to Start a CBD Business in Montana

With CBD sales expected to reach almost $16 billion in the United States by 2026, many Montanans may justifiably wonder: How do I get in on the action? The good news is that selling CBD products in Montana is quite easy. As with any business, however, it’s important to research the clientele you want to serve. Do you want a brick-and-mortar business, an eCommerce operation, or both? What is the local competitive market for CBD sales in the Montana region where you hope to operate? How will you source your products? 

These are just a few of the questions you need to answer before you open for sales, but the most important is: What Montana rules and regulations do you have to follow to sell CBD products? 

How to Get a CBD License in Montana

At the most basic level, you don’t need a Montana CBD license to sell products that are derived from hemp, which by definition is a cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% THC and the psychoactive component of marijuana. After some confusion concerning a 2021 law, licensed marijuana retailers are allowed to sell hemp-derived CBD products, but the reverse isn’t true. If you want to sell CBD products legally without going through the hassle of obtaining a marijuana license, you need to ensure that they contain no more than 0.3% THC.

And really, you don’t have much of an option; Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation in May 2023 that extended until July 1, 2025, a moratorium on issuing new marijuana dispensary licenses. Unless you’re willing to wait that long and have designs on a full-service dispensary, selling hemp-derived CBD products in Montana is the way to go.

If, however, you happen to be a farmer or someone who wants to grow hemp, you will need a Montana CBD license. You will also have to obtain a hemp license if you want to process hemp to make CBD derivatives like oils and other ingredients for CBD products. This is called a hemp processor license and is separate from the grower license.

CBD License Application Requirements for Montana

If you only plan to sell hemp-derived CBD products, you don’t need to acquire a Montana CBD license. Those who wish to process hemp to make CBD derivatives and ingredients using floral and root portions of the hemp plant must pay either $2,500 and fill out the Montana hemp processor license application, or $1,000 if you will only use hemp grain, seed, oil, and fiber. 

If you’re a farmer who wants to grow hemp, you’ll need to go through a more rigorous two-part licensing process. It will ensure the hemp you grow complies with state and federal regulations, especially the requirement that the plants contain no more than 0.3% THC.

Laws & Regulations for Selling CBD in Montana

Fortunately, for small business owners who want to move quickly, there are few laws and regulations governing CBD sales in Montana. This is why you can pick up just about any CBD product in gas stations from Helena to Butte. Growers and processors must meet a separate set of conditions, but the bottom line for most CBD retailers in Montana is that as long as you sell products with less than 0.3% THC content, you comply with Montana laws and regulations for selling CBD.

How to Renew Your CBD License in Montana

One of the advantages of not having to obtain a Montana CBD license for operating a retail business is that you don’t have to worry about renewal or pesky paperwork. Farmers and processors of hemp products must go through the licensing process each year, but small business owners can focus on their customers and not worry about red tape.

Start Selling CBD in Montana

So you’ve done your research, written a business plan, and sourced your products. Now you can start selling! Montana doesn’t have regulations on CBD, so you may want to consider some kind of third-party CBD certification that verifies the quality and content of your product. This may help differentiate you from the myriad of other retailers who may sell CBD products of questionable origin and ingredients.

Once you’re able to start accepting payments for your business, it’ll be time to find a provider to help you facilitate those transactions. However, many CBD businesses will find that this is the hardest part about starting a CBD business. This is because financial institutions consider CBD to be a high-risk industry due to the strict federal regulations surrounding it. That’s why it’s an important requirement for anyone entering the CBD game to find a CBD merchant services provider that can help you process transactions.

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Montana CBD License: FAQs

You’re darn right it is. As long as your CBD products are hemp-derived, meaning they come from plants with less than 0.3% THC, you can legally sell CBD in Montana.

How much does a CBD license cost in Montana?

Since there are no licenses for CBD retailers, your cost is $0, totally free! This changes if you happen to be a farmer attempting to start growing hemp, or you want to become a hemp processor who makes CBD derivatives from hemp. In general, CBD retailers don’t need to pay a dime. 

Can you sell CBD without a license in Montana?

You sure can. That’s why you’ll see many CBD products in places like gas stations and convenience stores throughout the Treasure State. Depending on how lean you want to operate and how much money you want to spend, you may want to consider third-party certification to stand out from the CBD pack.

How long is a CBD license valid in Montana?

There are currently no CBD licenses for retailers in Montana, so you don’t have to keep track of expiration dates or other annoying requirements other states may have. 

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