After a month-long delay for procedural reasons, the Montana Supreme Court will finally hear oral arguments on Montana’s new prohibitionist medical mariuana law–the notorious SB423. A cannabis industry group, and the State are appealing a 2011 decision by Judge James Reynolds blocking parts of SB423. For those of you unfamiliar with the saga that is Montana medical marijuana, SB423 was created by a cabal of scared little men who, seeking self-gain and a bit of political attention, attacked Montana’s medical marijuana program, decimating local economies, spreading terror and paranoia across the land, and choking off the only true growth industry in Montana.
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer allowed SB423 to pass as law without his signature. Pretty cowardly move by the leader of the land if you ask me. Fortunately, the Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MCIA) rallied the troops, and raised enough cash to hire a proper lawyer to fight SB423. Judge Reynolds blocked several provisions of SB423 as unconstitutional. Tomorrow, the Supremes have agreed to consider these two issues as reported by The Missoulian:
– Whether the judge erred in blocking the law’s ban on medical marijuana cardholders compensating providers for marijuana products and its limit that a provider can provide pot for a maximum of three cardholders. There had been no previous restrictions on compensation or the number of cardholders a provider could serve. The state appealed these parts of Reynolds’ decision.
– Whether Reynolds erred in denying a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the entire 2011 Medical Marijuana Act as the Cannabis Industry had sought instead of just the five sections he blocked. The Montana Cannabis Industry Association appealed this part of the ruling.
According to the MCIA, the main problem with SB423 is that it will “choke off access to medical marijuana for those in need by eliminating caregiver producers.” Similar to severe restrictions on abortions, SB423 attempts to circumvent the will of Montana voters who passed the original medical marijuana law, by implementing a new law that is really just a de facto prohibitionist agenda codified.
Tomorrow will be a turning point moment for Montana medical marijuana. If the Supreme Court rules that SB423 is unconstitutional in its entirety, Montana could return to the pre-SB423 status quo. On the other hand, the Supremes could overturn Judge Reynolds’s decision and allow SB423’s ban on making money as a medical marijuana provider, and the three patient limit to stand. I will keep you posted.