A group of cannabis operators is suing a Montana city in an unusual instance of an industry attempting to maintain government restrictions.
The lawsuit concerns a 20-store limit on medical cannabis dispensaries imposed by Bozeman officials in 2012.
In October, the city council took steps to repeal the cap and bring the city’s code in line with new state recreational marijuana rules.
But eight Bozeman operators subsequently sued the city in order to restore the 20-store limit, the Helena Independent Record reports.
Current license holders said removing the limit would devalue their businesses and crowd the cannabis market in the city.
City officials countered that interest in new dispensaries is high — and that they’re not obligated to protect current operators from competition.
Recreational sales are scheduled to start at the beginning of next year in Montana, with a key caveat:
Under a statewide moratorium, only existing medical providers will be able to sell recreational cannabis until 2023.