Montana Pot Dispensaries Close as Restrictions Take Effect

Article by Matt Volz, Bozeman Daily Chronicle

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Medical marijuana dispensaries across Montana have closed their doors as new restrictions took effect Wednesday that limit pot providers to three patients apiece, leaving thousands of pot users registered with the state without a legal way to buy the drug.

The restrictions begin after five years of unsuccessful court battles to overturn the 2011 state law that rolled back much of a voter-approved law that brought medical marijuana to Montana in 2004. It is one of the most significant rollbacks by the 25 states and Washington, D.C., that allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes.

Medical marijuana advocates estimate that over 12,000 patients are losing legal access to pot because their providers did not choose them as one of their three patients. There were 13,190 registered patients at the end of July, says the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Dispensaries posted Facebook messages to their patients that they were closing Tuesday. Some offered their products at discounts, such as Lionheart Caregiving’s $3 marijuana brownie sale, while others gave away inventory before closing down.

“Everybody’s shutting down,” said Kate Cholewa, government relations director for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association. “It’s over.”

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