MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A judge says new legislation is complicating a lawsuit over whether Montana's health department was wrong to deny licenses to the state's largest medical marijuana business to open four new grow sites and a storefront in Helena.

Earlier this month, District Judge Dusty Deschamps issued an order allowing Lionheart Caregiving of Bozeman to move forward with the five new operations while the case continued.

After hearing arguments on the temporary restraining order on Wednesday, Deschamps gave Lionheart and the state Department of Public Health and Human Services until July 15 to file briefs on whether he should continue hearing the case or if it should go to an administrative hearing as required by new legislation passed this spring.

State officials declined to comment on the ongoing case.

Attorney Josh Van de Wetering said most of the issues go back to the state not allowing Lionheart to use its seed-to-sale tracking software last year and the inability of Lionheart's own tracking software to communicate with the state system known as Metrc.

That led to Lionheart being out of compliance with state law and the state denying it a license to open new grow sites in Livingston, Belgrade, Great Falls and Helena and the storefront within the Helena city limits.

The health department alleged Wednesday there were other issues at Lionheart, including 27 pounds of marijuana and more than 300 plants that are unaccounted for, the Missoulian reported .

Van de Wetering told The Associated Press on Thursday the state made that allegation in court just before 5 p.m., and Lionheart didn't have a chance to rebut the testimony.

Lionheart has information about the marijuana and plants in question in its own tracking and point-of-sale system, Van de Wetering said. He can include that information in the briefs due next month.

"We are obeying the law," he said. "To the degree that we've been denied access to Metrc we have kept our own data. We've offered to share it with the state. They won't even look at it."

Lionheart has given up on opening grow sites in Belgrade, Great Falls and Helena, Van de Wetering said, but has moved forward with the outdoor grow site in Livingston and the storefront in Helena under the temporary restraining order.

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Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

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