The new law [which was temporarily under injunction] is highly restrictive and allows doctors to only prescribe medical marijuana to 25 patients a year. Dispensaries can stay open but can only sell to three cardholders. Providers can no longer advertise. The law also prohibits people who are on probation from being able to register as cardholders.
Also, the law allows police to search a provider’s business without a warrant.
Enforcement of the new restrictions mainly will be carried out by city and county authorities, Department of Justice spokesman John Barnes said. There were 471 medical marijuana providers for 13,640 registered patients at the end of January, according to the most recent data from the state.
Of those providers, 325 supply the drug to more people than the three-patient limit set by state lawmakers and upheld by the Supreme Court's decision. The largest provider has more than 770 patients. Reid acknowledged most of those large operations will have to shut down. Even if all 471 continued to operate with only three patients each, that would leave more than 12,200 patients without a legal way to buy medical marijuana, he said.
Prior to this, Montana voters passed an initiative in 2004 making medical marijuana legal. Concerned over the abuse of the system, the legislature passed the Montana Marijuana Act in 2011. The Supreme Court stated in its decision, “the Legislature considered abuses that had occurred under the 2004 law, such as ... a disproportionate number of medical marijuana users who falsified or exaggerated their need for medical marijuana.”
After the legislature passed the Montana Marijuana Act in 2011, the cannabis association was granted an injunction to keep the law from going into effect. Since then, marijuana dispensaries have been operating under “business as usual” conditions. Gibbons said he was shocked, after all this time, to learn the Supreme Court made the decision.
MORAL OF THE STORY? IF YOU WANT A MEDICAL MJ BUSINESS, MOVE TO A STATE WHERE IT IS LEGAL, OR WHERE THERE ARE FAR LESS RESTRICTIONS.