Montana’s once-burgeoning medical marijuana sector unraveled quickly several years ago due to legal issues, but dispensaries are thriving in one city that has taken a hands-off approach to the industry.
At least 14 MMJ centers are currently operating in Butte, according to one report.
The state Legislature passed a law in 2011 essentially banning MMJ dispensaries, with lawmakers expressing concern over a huge spike in the number of patients and cannabis centers. Though that legislation has been tangled up in court for quite some time, most cannabis businesses were forced to close their doors.
In Butte (population 33,000), however, local law enforcement has looked the other way and allowed dispensaries to continue operating.
Some insiders say Butte business owners have been careful to operate responsible businesses and keep a low profile, unlike a prominent activist who once smoked marijuana on the lawn of the state Capitol building.
In other words, Butte dispensary owners haven’t given local law enforcement anything to worry about, so they’ve been left alone.
It’s unclear when Montana will get a resolution on the 2011 ban.
An injunction blocked some parts of that law from taking root, which gives the Butte dispensaries legal cover to continue operating. But that case is still sitting in court, with the pro-cannabis side trying to make the injunction permanent and the other side trying to enact the full ban.