Montana MMJ dispensaries may stay closed until next June

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Organizers of a ballot initiative to reverse a Montana law that will shutter the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries may have accidentally set their effort back by six months, owing to a mistake in the measure’s wording.

If so, dispensaries wouldn’t be reopened until next June – assuming Montana voters approve the initiative, the Associated Press reported. That would be a blow to the dispensary owners and the customers they serve.

Due to a “clerical error” in the language of I-182, as the measure is known, a limit of three patients per MMJ provider – which is what will force dispensaries to close – wouldn’t be reversed until June 30, 2017.

A spokeswoman for the campaign told the AP the language was a mistake because two new provisions were added to the initiative, while the measure’s effective date wasn’t updated accordingly. She said the error could be easily fixed after the election.

But a spokesman for the Montana Legislative Services Division said such changes would have to go through the state legislature, which is responsible for the crackdown in the first place. The secretary of state’s office certified the initiative language on Thursday, meaning the window for any changes by the proponents has closed.