Montana Medical Marijuana Industry to End in August

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The Montana State Supreme Court has put the state’s medical marijuana dispensaries on notice: They’ll be out of business as of August 31.

The decision means Montana voters ultimately could determine the future of the state’s MMJ’s dispensaries.

The high court made its views known on Monday through a ruling on a 2011 law that was intended to shut down dispensaries statewide.

The justices initially had ruled against the industry in February. The Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MTCIA) asked the court in March to delay the decision’s implementation. That allowed dispensaries to keep operating as usual.

The justices, for their part, opted to give dispensaries a little more than three months to live.

“We are cognizant … that immediate implementation of the Court’s Opinion will cause serious disruption in a program that is regulated by the State and has been operating for a considerable period of time,” the justices wrote in ordering the August 31 deadline.

The MTCIA had requested the ruling be delayed until next April. In a statement, a spokeswoman said it “has become critical” that the organization succeed in getting a ballot measure before voters in November to legalize dispensaries.