Medical marijuana advocates ask court to delay restrictions

HELENA – Medical marijuana advocates are asking the Montana Supreme Court to delay implementing a ruling last month that will limit providers to selling the drug to no more than three patients and force the closure of the state’s large dispensaries.

A petition for rehearing was filed Friday, the deadline before the ruling was to take effect upholding most of a 2011 state law imposing severe restrictions on medical marijuana. Attorney James Goetz provided The Associated Press a copy of the petition before it was filed with the court.

It requests a transition period through the end of the next legislative session, which would be sometime in April 2017. It also asks the court to consider lifting the three-patient limit.

The transition period would prevent the disruption of patient care, ease providers’ fear of prosecution and help state officials prepare for enforcing the ruling, Goetz wrote in the petition.

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