Medical marijuana advocates are hoping to start gathering signatures soon in an effort to block stringent new Montana regulations.

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association is finalizing its proposed ballot initiative with state election officials even as the group awaits a judge's decision on a legal challenge to the new law.

The court arguments have been the focal point of the industry's effort to derail a law that goes into effect Friday. A Helena judge has indicated he may block at least part of it.

But medical marijuana growers have a backup plan. The advocates are confident they will be able to gather enough signatures in the coming months to suspend the law until voters can decide in 2012.

The attorney general has now approved ballot language for them to use.

Associated Press