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WIRE: Judge orders Montana dispensaries reopened immediately

MONTANA — After a three-month-long hiatus, Montana’s medical marijuana dispensaries will be reopened immediately, a judge ruled Wednesday.

The dispensaries were closed due to an error in drafting a voter-approved ballot measure. The error resulted in pushing back the date on which a key portion of the ballot would come into effect to July 2017. District Judge James Reynolds of Helena, MT said such an error shouldn’t prevent registered users from accessing medical cannabis.

“The immediate effects are restoring access to the more than 10,000 patients in Montana who have been denied access to their medicine,” said Richard Eggers owner of Montana Preferred Provider, a Missoula, MT medical marijuana provider. “This ruling allows doctors to do their jobs and thousands patients to get back on the program. It is a very exciting day for all of us.”

The initiative approved by voters last month struck down a law passed by the Montana Legislature in 2011 that limited medical marijuana providers to three patients each. The three-patient limit took effect Aug. 31 after a five-year court battle, forcing the closure of medical marijuana dispensaries across the state and leaving thousands of registered users without providers.

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association, which authored the ballot measure, intended for the limit to be struck down as soon as it was passed but the effective dates of the various sections of the initiative were not updated with the final changes. Reynolds said the issue over the effective dates was clearly an error.

To learn more, contact Richard Eggers at (406)540-4147 or email him at montanapreferred@yahoo.com.

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