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Supreme Court Rejects Appeal to Save Montana MMJ

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal against a Montana law that limits medical cannabis caregivers from providing to more than three patients, the Associate Press reports.

The rejection means that a controversial ruling made by the Montana Supreme Court in February still stands, and the state’s medical cannabis industry will be effectively snuffed out as of August 31, 2016. The February ruling upholds the state’s three-patient restriction law, a provision that was originally passed in 2011 following a series of federal raids against several of Montana’s large-scale cannabis providers and cultivation facilities.

Activists launched a petition campaign in March to delay the restrictions’ implementation until the end of the 2017 legislative session. The Montana Supreme Court, however, ruled in April that the restrictions would take effect on August 31. This, according to the court, would give cannabis patients and the Montana Health Department more time to handle any fallout associated with such a massive scaling back of the industry.

In turn, activists scrambled to assemble a voter initiative for this November’s voting season. The initiative, I-82, aims to undo the three-patient restriction and adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the state’s list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis. I-82 would also establish licensing fees to help pay for the program, and would result in specialized provider licenses and annual inspections for Montana’s dispensary facilities.

Montana first legalized medical cannabis in 2004.

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