Court Finds SB 423 Would Do Irreparable Harm To Montanans
District Court Judge Jim Reynolds issued a Temporary Restraining Order on Friday, blocking key provisions of SB 423, which is appearing on this fall's ballot as IR-124.
The Court found that "immediate and irreparable harm will occur to Plaintiffs and others" if SB 423 is allowed to take full effect. "The harm is that persons who have been certified by the State as eligible for medical marijuana cards will be denied meaningful access to this medical treatment."
The judge's action blocks a planned move by the state Department of Health and Human Services to terminate 5,598 patients from medical marijuana eligibility overnight, because they registered under prior rules. The department was set to sever patients from the program on Monday, but now appears to be enjoined from doing so.
Bob Brigham, campaign manager for Patients for Reform, explained how this will affect the November election.
"It isn't surprising that SB 423 isn't passing muster with the court, it is a 'de facto repeal' of patients' rights," Brigham said. "The court recognized that it is patients who are harmed by SB 423. This action shows that the last legislature didn't just overturn the will of the voters, they did it in a backdoor manner with an phony, unworkable replacement law. SB 423 has proved to be tough to defend in court."
"With the court blocking the worst provisions of SB 423 from taking effect until after the election, voters will now get a chance to see how bad the bill is before casting their vote," Brigham noted. "But voters will hear about a judge blocking the bill again, and voters will hear about the Attorney General voting against IR-124. Both facts will help people judge how harmful SB 423 is, fortunately without patients having to suffer the full effects of this horrific bill."
Brigham also noted that the judge's timing is logical.
"It's only common sense to block SB 423 when it faces possible defeat by the voters in less than two weeks," said Brigham. "No credible poll has ever showed IR-124 with majority support, so it would make no sense to allow SB 423 to hit patients between the eyes, only to be repealed days later."
Article From Patients For Reform, Not Repeal