A few times a day, someone from out of town will walk into one of Paulson Palmer’s three dispensaries in northwest Montana asking if they can buy cannabis. The answer is almost always no.
While Palmer’s Fruit Factory can sell cannabis to Montana residents with a medical cannabis card, it will not be legal to sell it for non-medical adult use until Jan. 1, 2022 — a message that might not be clear to out-of-state tourists who may have heard that cannabis has been legalized in Big Sky Country but haven’t closely followed the new law.
For adult-use cannabis advocates, the fact that customers are already trying to buy is a sign that their forecast of legalized cannabis becoming a multi-million-dollar industry in the state was correct. But pent-up demand also brings up another concern: Will Montana’s dispensaries be able to meet that demand come January?
“I think we’re going to run out of cannabis in less than a week,” said Pepper Petersen, president and CEO of the Montana Cannabis Guild. “That’s what happened everywhere else when the recreational market opened up. We’re barely keeping up with demand [for medical cannabis] right now.”
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