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BUTTE - A district judge has ruled that a Beaverhead County woman charged with growing marijuana was not protected by the state's medical marijuana law because she didn't have the required permit when she was arrested.

Summer Sutton-Day, who was charged with production, possession and intent to sell marijuana, did not have a medical marijuana registry identification card when officers raided her home outside of Dillon on Feb. 1. She obtained a permit after the raid.

District Judge Loren Tucker ruled that the evidence from the search, which netted 96 marijuana plants, could be used against her in the case.

"It would be akin to allowing a person to use prescription medication before obtaining the prescription," Tucker said. "Protecting marijuana users under (the medical marijuana law) before they meet the statutory requirements for protection would lead to the same absurd result."

Sutton-Day's attorney, Jon Moog, could not be reached for comment, but Beaverhead County Attorney Jed Fitch praised Tucker's decision, saying it was "an insightful explanation of the law."

Sutton-Day was charged along with her husband, Scott Day, who died in September at the age of 34 after battling a debilitating disease all his life. The couple were issued the medical marijuana cards to help treat numerous symptoms, including severe pain.

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Voters approved the state's medical marijuana law in 2004. It allows those who receive a prescription from a doctor to possess a limited amount of marijuana for personal use.

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