Tracy Elizabeth

Cannabis advocates in Montana have filed a petition that delays implementing a controversial ruling issued last month, in which the Montana Supreme Court upheld a 2011 provision that limits caregivers to providing for a maximum of three patients, essentially gutting the state’s medical marijuana industry.

Advocates filed a petition on Friday asking the court for a transition period through the next legislative session, which would end in April 2017, The Associated Press report. The petition also calls on the court to do away with the three-patient limit entirely.

Some Montana law enforcement officials, however, are already clamoring to see dispensaries close their doors. Attorney General Stuart Segrest wrote in a response to the petition that the State Department of Justice opposes any delay to the dispensary shutdowns, and they oppose lifting the three-patient restrictions.

Reversely, Montana health officials seem to be siding with patients, arguing that it will take months for the Department of Public Health & Human Services to carry out the regulatory changes, and that a lengthy transition period would be ideal.

As of February, there are 13,594 patients registered with the Montana medical marijuana program, and there are 476 providers — twenty-six of whom have a customer base of more than 100 patients each.

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