U.S. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Montana Dispensary Appeal

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Montana dispensaries hoping for a last-ditch miracle from the U.S. Supreme Court were treated to a bitter disappointment Monday with the news that the justices had declined to hear their case.

The Associated Press reported that the justices let stand a Montana Supreme Court ruling that in effect regulates the state’s medical cannabis industry out of business.

While the high court’s decision wasn’t a surprise, a spokeswoman for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MTCIA) said in a statement the organization is “disappointed,” but is now hoping that it will win a motion for a stay on the state Supreme Court’s ruling that dispensaries must be shuttered by Aug. 31.

If it wins a stay, that could allow dispensaries to remain open through the election, instead of closing temporarily and then reopening if MTCIA wins at the ballot box.

The MTCIA said it hopes a district court will see the rationale behind holding off on implementing the state Supreme Court’s ruling because it’s likely that Montana voters will once again have the chance to weigh in on medical cannabis in November, which could overturn the state high court’s ruling from February and essentially legalize dispensaries.

The MTCIA filed the request for a stay on the state Supreme Court’s ruling in Lewis and Clark County District Court on June 15, and spokeswoman Kate Cholewa said it’s “probable” that the district judge will rule on the matter before the end of August, given the timeliness of the issue.