Marijuana Facility Requirements

Building Codes requirements for Medical Marijuana Facilities.

Starting or expanding a business can be complicated and overwhelming and complying with all the required codes can be confusing to small business owners. The Building and Commercial Measurements Bureau’s mission is to improve public safety by helping customers build, alter and repair structures that are structurally sound, accessible, and provide safe entry and exiting for owners, employees and customers.

We encourage you to contact us with questions prior to commencing construction. The Bureau has highly qualified inspectors assigned locally throughout the state and we can get you in contact with the local inspectors for help with your project. Please contact us via phone at (406) 841-2056 or email at  buildingcodes@mt.gov

Below are some basic guidelines to help business owners and contractors navigate the building process.

This is not a complete list of code requirements. Please contact a registered design professional if the scope of your project is beyond your knowledge or ability.

Dispensaries

Dispensaries are classified as a Mercantile under the International Building Code (IBC).

No new construction involved:
  1. If being set up in an existing building previously used as a Mercantile, no building permit is required.
  2. If being set up in an existing building previously used differently, (I.E. an office, restaurant, bar, storage building), a “Change of Use” permit is required. Inspections will be performed, and the building will need to be compliant with current building codes and accessibility standards listed in the International Existing Building Code.
Construction involved:
  1. If a new building, a building permit is required, and the project will be inspected throughout the course of construction.
  2. If an existing building, the new construction will be permitted and inspected, and the new portions will be required to be compliant with the current code.
Grow Facilities

Grow facilities can be classified in different ways according to the use. Each classification has different requirements for fire resistive construction and maximum height and areas before additional levels of life safety measures are required. In new grow facilities in existing buildings where it was classified the same previously and no construction is taking place, then no permit would be required. For all other projects building permits and inspections are required. Grow facilities are typically classified in the following manner:

  1. If the building is used for growing only, It can be classified as a Utility (similar to a greenhouse)
  2. If the building is used for growing and processing, (I.E. drying, harvesting and packaging), it is classified as a Factory.
  3. If the building also has provisions for extraction, it would still be classified as a Factory, but hazardous gases or liquids used in the extraction process must to be limited to the maximum amounts allowed in the building by the IBC. If maximum limits of hazardous gases or liquids are passed, the building is classified as Hazardous. Automatic Fire Sprinklers become mandatory.
    1. A chemical hood is required over the equipment to capture gasses released when product is removed.
    2. The area immediately around the equipment is considered a hazardous location and any electrical components in this area need to be rated for the hazardous location.
  4. If the building also has provisions for cooking, that portion of the building becomes a “commercial kitchen not associated with restaurants” and could be classified as a Factory or a Business depending on the square footage of the kitchen.
    1. If the kitchen area is over 2500 sq. ft, it would be classified as a Factory,  if the kitchen is under 2500 sq. ft, it would be classified as a Business)
    2. A fire suppression hood may be required over cooking appliances that disconnects all energy and fuels under the hood as per the International Mechanical Code.
  5. Is there CO2 production for plant growth?
    1. CO2 generator, basically a gas heater that is built to fire inefficiently and produce CO2. CO2 generators require CO2 level monitoring with an alarm and generator shutdown. Most units have a built-in gas shutoff and there is an off the shelf monitor that plugs into a wall receptacle and has a switched receptacle for the generator. Where is the fuel stored? If inside, it is limited to 10 gallons and it cannot be a BBQ type propane bottle as those have a built-in vent that could release gas into the building.
    2. CO2 from pressurized bottles need to be secured to the wall via a chain to prevent tip over, and monitoring.

Facility Licensure

For information regarding licensure of medical marijuana facilities please see the Department of Public Health and Human Services' web page. Medical Marijuana Licensing Information

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