Existing Cannabis Businesses
Moving forward, the 420 License will replace your existing general business license. Your current business license will be extended through Mar 31st, 2024 and you will need to apply to convert your existing license to a 420 License by Jan 1st, 2023; all existing businesses should have received a letter in the mail.
We encourage all parties interested in Cannabis regulations in the City of Missoula to subscribe for Cannabis notifications and to visit Engage Missoula for opportunities to comment on proposed regulation changes.
Recreational Cannabis Update
- Existing Cannabis uses approved before November 2020 can switch to recreational use now.
- Existing Cannabis uses approved after November 2020 can switch to recreational July 2023.
- Existing Cannabis businesses can apply to add uses (extraction, cultivation, MIP etc.) now.
- Per the State of Montana, no new cannabis licenses will be issued in 2022. (verify with the Montana Department of Revenue - Cannabis Control Division for most up to date info)
- Do I need a permit or license?
All cannabis-related businesses are required to obtain a 420 License to operate inside city limits. A cannabis related business is one that participates in the commercial cultivation, extraction, sale, testing, processing (including harvesting and curing), or manufacture of marijuana products intended for consumption by others. Please be aware, commercial cannabis related businesses are not permitted in residential homes with the exception of medical marijuana delivery-only businesses (no sales) which are allowed as a home-based business.
For information on plant limits for personal consumption please contact the State of Montana - Cannabis Control Division.
Note: The city does not distinguish between medical and recreational cultivation, sales, manufacturing etc.
- How do I apply for a permit/license?
Starting January 1st, 2023, all cannabis related businesses will be required to have an active '420 license'. You will be able to apply online by logging into the Citizen Access Portal. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible to allow staff sufficient review time and so as not to impact your business in any way.
- How does the review process work?
Step 1: Apply for a 420 License - Create an account to apply online and pay your licensing fees.
Step 2: Upload documents to the commercial building permit record - If you are required to upload additional documents, a commercial building permit (COM) is automatically created when you apply for a 420 License. Upload your change-of-use and/or hazardous material inventory statement (HMIS) documentation to this associated commercial building permit (COM).
Step 3: City Review - Your application will be reviewed by 6+ different departments.
Step 4: Pay the fees to get your approved commercial building permit issued - You will receive an email once the commercial building permit is approved with instructions on how to pay the associated fees, then your commercial building permit will be issued.
Step 5: Pass Inspections - Contact the Fire Department directly (406-522-6210) to schedule your fire inspection. You will additionally need to pass a final building inspection, which can be scheduled via the online portal, and any associated M.E.P inspections.
Step 6: 420 License is Issued!
- How do I schedule an inspection?
Please note, a final building inspection can only be scheduled once you have an issued Commercial Building permit record. Please review the flowchart for a better understanding of when your permit will be in an issued status. Once permit has been issued, click on the 'schedule an inspection' button on the cannabis home page for instructions on how to schedule that inspection. To schedule an inspection with the Fire Department you will need to contact them directly, visit here or call 406-552-6210.
If there is no commercial building permit (COM) associated with your 420 license application such as with a dispensary-only business, you can schedule your fire inspection at any time. To schedule an inspection with the Fire Department you will need to contact them directly, visit here or call 406-552-6210.
Delivery/transport only businesses that are home based businesses will not be required to have any inspections as part of their review process.
- Will I need a change-of-use?
A change-of-use permit is a commercial building permit that changes the use of an existing building or tenant space from one approved use/occupancy classification to another as described in the International Building Code. It compares the code requirements of the existing use to the requirements of the proposed use and demonstrates how the building or tenant space meets the code requirements for the new use – any code deficiencies will need to be corrected prior to occupying the space/changing the use. A change-of-use permit is required anytime there is a full or partial change in occupancy classification or use of the space or an increase in the intensity of the use.
A Hazardous Material Inventory Statement (HMIS) is required for all commercial cultivation and extraction facility even if the last approved use of the space was the same. The completed form should be uploaded to the associated commercial building permit which will be automatically created when you apply for your 420 License. This is because the operations and intensity of each individual facility or business owner vary and there may be an increase or decrease in canopy size or the Max Allowable Quantity (M.A.Q.) of solvents or combustible fibers (drying/processing) in each control area etc.
When will the Building Department NOT require a change-of-use to obtain a 420 license?
Where there is a change in ownership or a new business is replacing an original business where the use is exactly the same, a change of use will most likely not be required assuming the hazardous materials inventory sheet does not indicate a change in intensity. Dispensaries moving into a space most recently permitted as a retail location (Mercantile Occupancy – M) would not require a change of use.
If I have previously completed a change-of-use will I need to do it again?
Due to the legalization of recreational marijuana, all dispensaries are now M (Mercantile) occupancies (like a retail store); previously they were reviewed/approved as a B (Business) occupancy under a patient care model. Due to the change in use/occupancy type, dispensaries that were previously permitted as a B occupancy will now need to complete a change-of-use to be an M occupancy. If you are an existing dispensary not currently approved as an M occupancy a change-of-use will be required. Note: If this applies to your existing dispensary you will be sent a letter saying you will need to complete a change-of-use before your 420 license will be approved. For other uses besides dispensing, you will most likely not be required to provide a new change-of-use unless the activities, location or intensity etc. has changed since your initial application or where the original information provided was unclear.
What If I am still unsure of the most recently approved use of my proposed tenant space?
If you are still unsure, please email email@example.com (include the address, suite number, a description of how you plant o use the space and a good phone number to reach you at)
- Will I need an Architect/Engineer?
A licensed professional architect or engineer is required for commercial projects and is required to stamp a change-of-use.
The hazardous material inventory statement (HMIS) can be completed by the business owner as long as they do not exceed the maximum allowable quantities (MAQ) of hazardous materials. An architect may be helpful in advising you on how to complete your hazardous materials inventory statement (HMIS) without getting bumped into an H occupancy. Where you exceed one control area you will need an architect to submit plans demonstrating compliance with the code.
- Will I need mechanical, electrical or plumbing permits?
Permits shall be purchased for all work associated with the new use/occupancy and commercial buildings require licensed electricians and plumbers to complete the work. Below is a list of additional permits commonly required for cannabis facilities.
- Electrical Permit: Dedicated outlets are needed for all mounted light fixtures, fans etc. (extension cords are not allowed for permanent fixtures.) Additionally, increased lighting/mechanical loads may require increasing the size of the electrical panel/breaker/service.
- Mechanical Permit: New exhaust fans shall be installed and exhausted to an approved location per the currently adopted IMC. To prevent noxious odors, we recommend using a carbon filter or other odor mitigation on your exhaust air.
- Plumbing Permit: Where cultivation occurs, the building shall be equipped with an approved backflow prevention device on the service line. If you are using a hose or faucet to water the plants, it shall also be equipped with an approved backflow prevention device.
- Can I install mechanical equipment, duct work, or exhaust fans myself?
Mechanical permits are required when vents and ducts are added, replaced, or relocated. This includes dryer vents, exhaust fans, range hood vents and extending heating ducts, adding registers, replacing furnaces and air conditioning units. A building owner can self-perform this work however they will still be required to pull a permit and pass all the necessary inspections. We strongly recommend you hire a professional as they will be familiar with the code requirements as well as how to identify and protect penetrations through rated assemblies in accordance with the code.
- I have un-permitted work I need to resolve in order to get my license, now what?
For whatever reason, it happened and now you want to make it right! While we cannot make exceptions to the code, we will do our best to work with you in bringing the un-permitted work back into compliance. You will need to apply for all applicable permits related to the unpermitted work and the permits will be reviewed/inspected as if they were new. It will be the responsibility of the applicant to demonstrate code compliance and that may include exposing previously covered work for the inspection(s) and/or providing plans to obtain a permit.
- How do I open a dispensary?
You will need to apply for a 420 License to open a dispensary in the City of Missoula. When choosing a business location for your dispensary (M - occupancy), we recommend trying to find a tenant space previously used as a retail store (M - occupancy) with a current City of Missoula business license. If dispensing is your only cannabis-related activity and you move into a space where the most recent approved use/occupancy classification was a retail store (M - occupancy), you will not be required to complete a change-of-use. You should also check with the Planning Department to verify if your use type will be allowed at your proposed location prior to applying for the 420 License. Please also note, the State of Montana - Cannabis Control Division will require a copy of your active 420 License as part of their review process.
Planning Department: (406) 552-6625 firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to GIS map: Coming soon!
- What is the process for opening a cultivation business in the City of Missoula?
Proposed commercial cultivation businesses will need to apply for a 420 License and complete a Hazardous Material Inventory Statement (HMIS). If the tenant space was not previously used as a commercial cultivation facility with the exact same use and intensity level, then you will be required to work with a MT licensed professional architect or engineer to complete a change-of-use. If you are remodeling the interior of your tenant space for cultivation, you will need to prepare plans for review in the same fashion you would for any commercial interior remodel. Commercial projects are required to be stamped by a MT licensed professional. The State of Montana - Cannabis Control Division will require a copy of your issued 420 license as part of their review process.
Note: Dry plant material is considered combustible fiber, which is a hazardous material in the IBC and will need to be documented on your Hazardous Materials Inventory Statement (HMIS)
- Can I grow Cannabis plants in my home?
As of January 2022, new commercial cultivation businesses are no longer approved for operations in residential homes. For information on plant limits for personal consumption please contact the State of Montana - Cannabis Control Division. The City of Missoula does not regulate plants for personal consumption, the limit is set by the State of Montana. Plants used for personal consumption shall not be visible to the public and shall be locked or otherwise secured.
- What is the process for opening an extraction business in the City of Missoula?
You will need to apply for a 420 License and likely work with a MT licensed professional architect or engineer to complete a change-of-use and a Hazardous Material Inventory Statement (HMIS). If you are remodeling the interior of your tenant space, you will need to prepare plans for review in the same fashion you would for any commercial interior remodel; most extraction change-of-use permits will require a full plan set for review and commercial projects are required to be stamped by a MT licensed professional. The State of Montana - Cannabis Control Division will require a copy of your issued 420 license as part of their review process.
- How do I add a use to my existing business license or 420 license?
You will need to apply for a Commercial Building Permit (COM permit) and work with a MT licensed professional architect or engineer to complete a partial change-of-use and update your Hazardous Material Inventory Statement (HMIS). If you are remodeling the interior of your business, you will need to prepare plans for review in the same fashion you would for any commercial interior remodel; commercial projects are required to be stamped by a MT licensed professional.
Note: Dry plant material is considered combustible fiber, which is a hazardous material in the IBC.
- How do I increase the canopy area of my existing business license?
You will need to apply for a Commercial Building Permit (COM permit) and work with a licensed professional architect or engineer to complete a partial change-of-use and update your Hazardous Material Inventory Statement (HMIS). If you are remodeling the interior of your business, you will need to prepare plans for review in the same fashion you would for any commercial interior remodel; commercial projects are required to be stamped by a MT licensed professional. Note: Dry plant material is considered combustible fiber, which is a hazardous material in the International Building Code.
You should contact the Planning Department to confirm if you are able to expand your canopy area prior to application.
Planning Department: (406) 552-6625 email@example.com
- How is my canopy area calculated?
- When is my business able to switch from medical to recreational?
- Existing cannabis businesses approved before November 3, 2020 can switch to recreational use once their 420 License has been issued.
- Existing cannabis businesses approved after November 3, 2020 can switch to recreational on July 1, 2023.
- Existing cannabis businesses can apply to add uses (extraction, cultivation etc.) now or increase their canopy size.
- Anyone can apply for a recreational business use on or after July, 1 2023.
- Per State regulations, no new cannabis licenses will be issued in 2022.
- Are there odor or air quality restrictions?
Effective September 7th, 2022 Title 5, the Business Licenses and Regulation Code, was amended to include air quality mitigation measures for cannabis cultivation and cannabis manufacturing businesses. New and existing cannabis cultivation or manufacturing businesses must install and maintain carbon filters. The carbon filters and associated fan must be sized and installed to circulate air equal to the volume of the room used exchangemanufacturerbusiness
- Are there energy use restrictions for cannabis cultivation?
There are no requirements for energy usage at cannabis cultivation businesses. The State of Montana does not allow local jurisdictions to regulate energy usage beyond the requirements of building code. In the future, energy conservation incentives may be provided through code amendments, though none are proposed at this time. To stay up to date on potential development of incentives, visit Engage Missoula.
- How do I submit a complaint related to Cannabis?
You can submit a citizen complaint by filling out the citizen complaint form.