Officials say the number of medical marijuana users and providers continues to decline after the July implementation of a tougher new law.

The Department of Public Health and Human Services told an interim committee of lawmakers on Monday that the number of cardholders had dropped by about 15 percent through August. There are now fewer than 27,000 cardholders.

That number is expected to keep dropping a lot as cards issued under the old system continue to expire.

The number of providers dropped dramatically because the law automatically stripped their registration. There are several hundred applications pending to become providers under the new law.

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association told the legislators the law is not causing fewer to use marijuana, but is increasing the number of illegal users.

Associated Press