Montana officials argue for short medical marijuana transition

HELENA – Severe medical marijuana restrictions that would force the closure of large dispensaries should go into effect no more than 49 days after the Montana Supreme Court upheld a disputed 2011 state law, an attorney for the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

State health officials are backing medical marijuana advocates who are seeking a longer delay, saying it would take months for the agency to carry out the regulatory changes in the court’s ruling.

Last month, the court upheld provisions of the 2011 law that limits marijuana providers to selling the drug to no more than three patients each. Medical marijuana advocates who sued to block the law asked the Supreme Court last week to reconsider the three-patient limit and delay implementation of the restrictions until after the 2017 legislative session, which is more than a year from now.

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