A new report from the state of Montana has found that thousands of medical cannabis patients have been left without providers since a new rule took effect regarding the ways in which the substance may be distributed.
The report — issued by the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services — found that 9, 042 medical cannabis patients have been left with no providers since the state Supreme Court upheld a rule change stipulating that medical cannabis providers could offer services to no more than three clients.
The rule change only took effect on August 31st, signaling that the number of medical cannabis patients without providers could grow to even greater numbers in the coming weeks and months.
One stipulation of the new regime almost guarantees futher purging: Erstwhile patients have until the end of September to notify the DPHHS as to whether they have found another provider or would like to grow their own medical cannabis; otherwise, they will be purged from the rolls.
The report also found that the total number of medical cannabis patients statewide now numbers 12,730, the lowest number in about a year.
In total, the rule change resulted in 55 medical cannabis providers having to cease serving any patients whatsoever.
An activist-backed initiative called Initiative I-82 that will appear on the Montana ballot in November would lift the three-patient maximum on cannabis providers and would allow for providers to hire additional employees to run their establishmetns.
John Winston is a New York City-based journalist and a media advisor for nyvapeshop.com.