Here’s how long Montana medical marijuana patients will have to wait before walking into a dispensary

Montana voters may have successfully reversed severe restrictions state lawmakers imposed on medical marijuana, but patients will have to wait nearly eight months before they can step into a dispensary again.

The main portion of a citizen’s initiative passed in Tuesday’s election — striking a law that went into effect this summer that limits marijuana providers to three patients — will take effect June 30 due to an error when the measure was drafted.

The Montana Supreme Court upheld the law earlier this year after a five-year legal battle, leading to a mass shutdown of dispensaries across the state on Aug. 31. Initiative backers had meant for the measure to immediately take effect, saying that it was essential to restoring thousands of patients’ access to their medicine with as little disruption from the shutdown as possible.

Officials with the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, which oversees the medical marijuana program, have advised patients that they intend to operate under the June 30 effective date, regardless of the clerical error.

Jeff Krauss, a former Bozeman mayor and the treasurer of the ballot committee supporting the measure, said the important point is that voters clearly and resoundingly supported the initiative.

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