HELENA, Mont. — Montana voters approved an expansion of medical marijuana, one of four citizen initiatives on the ballot, which is the most in any state election since 2010.
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The other ballot measures asked voters to decide whether to ban trapping on public lands, fund brain research and insert a crime victims’ rights law into the state constitution.
The passage of Initiative 182 means that marijuana dispensaries will be able to re-open after they closed in August to comply with a state Supreme Court order.
The high court upheld a 2011 state law after a five-year legal battle to restrict marijuana providers to a maximum of three patients. The law forced dispensaries to close their doors and left thousands of registered users without a legal way to access the drug.
Under the initiative, marijuana dispensaries will reopen, and doctors will be able to certify more than 25 medical marijuana patients a year without being flagged by the state Board of Medical Examiners.
Post-traumatic stress disorder would be added as a qualifying condition, and police will not be able to conduct surprise inspections of dispensaries.
Supporters of the measure say it will allow safe access to marijuana for patients while requiring providers to be accountable to the state.
Opponents say the measure would re-establish a marijuana industry in Montana that would be abused, as in 2011 when there were more than 31,000 registered marijuana users in the state. They say the 2011 law curbed abuses by patients, providers and doctors and should be left in place.