medical marijuana Montana
A jar of medical marijuana is displayed at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, July 11, 2014. REUTERS/DAVID MCNEW

After a three-month long hiatus, Montana’s medical marijuana dispensaries will be reopened immediately, a judge ruled Wednesday. The dispensaries were closed due to an error in drafting a voter-approved ballot measure.

The error resulted in pushing back the date on which a key portion of the ballot would come into force. District Judge James Reynolds of Helena said such an error shouldn’t prevent registered users from accessing medical cannabis.

“The folks that are maybe the most in need are the least able to provide, to grow their own,” Reynolds reportedly said. “I think speed is more important than niceties.”

The ballot measure, struck down by voters last month, involved a 2011 Montana law that said dispensaries can only provide cannabis to three patients each. The law, which came into effect Aug. 31 after a five-year legal battle, forced the closure of a number of dispensaries and prevented thousands of registered users from purchasing marijuana.

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association, which authored the ballot measure, intended for the limit to be struck down as soon as it was passed but the effective dates of the various sections of the initiative were not updated with the final changes.

Reynolds said the issue over the effective dates was clearly an error.

Currently, 26 states and the District of Columbia allow the use of marijuana in some form with three more states set to join the list after passing measures that allow the use of medical cannabis.

A Pew Research Center report said 57 percent of adults in the U.S. believe the use of cannabis should be made legal while 37 percent said marijuana use should be illegal. Ten years ago, nearly 60 percent opposed legalization and only 32 percent said marijuana should be legalized.

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