Stay In Touch
© 2011 Montana Cannabis Industry Association PO Box 9085 Missoula, MT 59807
It has been too long since we have had good news to report. Our funding drive in Bozeman and Butte-Silver Bow Counties has netted a total of $31,000 toward our legal fund. This is a victory for MTCIA and the medical marijuana providers and patients that we serve. Since the 2011 attempt by our legislature to shut down the industry, we have demonstrated our perseverance and determination by collecting over $380,000 in donations which were paid to our legal team. We are an industry that has withstood the most draconian federal raids in the history of our country and the narrow-minded attempt by an over-reacting legislature to kill the industry. Through all of the adversity that has beset our industry, we have stood firm in our resolve toward serving our patients.
On the federal level, there has been movement towards allowing the banking systems to begin handling our accounts so that we are not forced to do business on a “cash only” basis. There is a bipartisan effort taking place in congress at this very moment that would reschedule marijuana and provide more legal protections for marijuana providers who are in compliance with the laws of their states. These are all very encouraging events that add to the momentum of our industry.
There is still much work to be done. We must stay focused on keeping our industry from being shut down by the actions of the 2011 legislature. We still have a hearing scheduled in May. That hearing will determine whether we will keep the court-ordered injunctions in place that allow us to continue serving our patients. I have read the briefs, depositions and motions filed by our legal team and have a high level of confidence that we will have a positive outcome. There are still risks to our industry by actions of a negative Supreme Court.
From time to time we must take pause to consider the gains we have made as an industry. We have been allowed, by the court, to remain in business for nearly three years since SB423 went into effect. Reliable polls have consistently shown that more than 78% of Americans favor medical marijuana and 55% favor legalization for recreational use. Our momentum is picking up speed and this is cause for celebration. I will leave you with that thought and wish you all a happy Valentine weekend.
Yours in Solidarity,
It is with great pleasure that the staff of MTCIA announces the addition of 3 new board members.
James Haney has agreed to be our new Treasurer. James is a long-time marijuana activist who previously served as an area coordinator for Medical Marijuana Growers’ Association. He is also a small business owner from the Billings area.
Bob Cypers has joined our board and is a resident of Helena for the past 14 years. Bob has been a long-time activist for our cause and has done community service work including coaching soccer for the youths in his neighborhood.
Talyn Lang has also agreed to serve on our board. Talyn is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and served as an Electronics Technician before being honorably discharged. He is very active on marijuana issues and is well-respected in the Missoula area where he has resided for the past 11 years.
Please join us in welcoming our newest board members. They have pledged their commitment toward working in the best interest of the marijuana patients and providers of Montana.
Yours in Solidarity,
I have just recently received a notice from the Goetz Law Office informing me that MTCIA is now in arrears of $28,000 due to a high volume of legal activity in the month of December. You will recall that in May of last year we were given an estimate of the legal costs which would take us through the hearing in May of this year. That estimate was $50,000. We have paid that amount to the law firm that is representing us in the law suit against the State of Montana. However the original estimate was primarily based on the assumption that the state’s arguments would be redundant and without much additional evidence.
That assumption proved to be incorrect. The state is bringing in “the big guns” in the form of high profile “expert witnesses” and is engaged in a vigorous effort to shut our industry down for good. Our legal team has had to respond in kind with some very expensive expert witnesses of our own. It is for this reason that our legal costs have skyrocketed beyond our original estimates.
I have received assurances from our legal team that we are very well- positioned for the upcoming hearing on May 20. We do, however, need to pay the attorneys asap so that they can resume preparing for the hearing. You can donate via paypal on the MTCIA website or mail money orders to:
1120 Yale Avenue
Billings, MT 59102
Thank you for your support.
Yours in Solidarity,
It’s been nearly 2 weeks since we returned from the DPA Conference in Denver. Much has changed since our return. The events drew our organization to a philosophical crossroad. Some board members favored a ballot initiative for legalization, while some members favored trying to affect a fix to our existing law through the upcoming legislature. The issue became very contentious and ultimately led to the resignations of four of our board members who all favored pursuing a ballot initiative for legalization. The board members who left MTCIA are Chris Lindsey, Nicole French, Pat Pardis and Elizabeth Pincolini. I wish them all the best of luck in their future endeavors toward changing the cannabis law in Montana. As an organization, MTCIA was originally formed to protect the medical cannabis providers who would have been eliminated under our existing law (SB 423). MTCIA filed a lawsuit against the state which prevented certain aspects of SB 423 from taking effect. This injunction continues to allow providers to remain in the business of providing medical cannabis to registered cardholders. We will continue to protect the medical cannabis industry by engaging the legislature on basic, common-sense changes to the existing law. We will also continue to raise funds toward legal expenses in order to keep our lawsuit and subsequent injunction in effect. There is much work to do in preparation for the upcoming legislature. We need to focus on outreach programs in order to allow for more community involvement in our legislative efforts. We need to hire a professional public-relations firm and professional fund-raisers in order to mount an all-out effort in the next legislature. In short, if we are expecting to succeed at changing the existing cannabis law, we will need to scale up our efforts to a level not previously seen by our industry. We certainly have the know-how and the capability. If our supporters have the will to continue funding our efforts, I am confident we will succeed in getting SB 423 amended to make it more workable for providers and cardholders. Never give up and never give in.
Yours in solidarity,
A lot has happened since my last blog. I went to Butte and Kalispell in September for updates, discussions and fundraising events. I garnered $8400.00 for our legal fund. We still need another $7000.00 to fulfill our legal obligation to the Goetz Law Firm.
We are getting very close to having that obligation behind us. We are planning our strategy for the next legislative session and will be meeting with potential lobbyists sometime next week.
We had a board meeting Wednesday and voted to include Ed Docter as the newest addition to our Board of Directors. Ed is a former President of the MTCIA and brings new energy and perspective to the Board. Please join us in welcoming Ed aboard.
The board decided to raise money to partially fund some of the costs (admission fees, rooms and possibly per diem money) for the board members who will attend the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) conference in Denver Oct. 23-26.
The DPA conference will feature speakers from all parts of our nation and abroad who are involved in the marijuana industry. There will be representatives from Colorado and Washington who helped craft the legalization initiatives in both states. There will be multiple informational clinics occurring simultaneously. We need delegates from our board to attend as many clinics and meet with as many of the industry leaders as we possibly can. Our goal is to build relationships with the industry leaders who have successfully fought their hostile legislatures and crafted workable marijuana laws within their own states. We must do the same in Montana.
The board members will be tasked with reporting, individually, on our website after we return. Please help us out with the costs associated with this very important conference. Remember, we are working for you.
Yours in Solidarity,
MTCIA President Mort Reid will be holding meetings in Butte Sept 15 and Kalispell Sept. 16. Sunday Sept. 15th, from 4-6pm Mort will be in Butte at the Holiday Inn 2609 Harrison Ave, Butte, MT For more information Call Tawnya 406-490-4273 Monday Sept. 16th at 6pm Mort will be at the Red Lion hotel in Kalispell, in the Kalispell Center Mall 209 N. Main St. For more information Call Tara 249-1
MTCIA PRESENTS: AMERICAN DRUG WAR 2 – CANNABIS DESTINY
POWERFUL DOCUMENTARY FEATURES MONTANA RESIDENTS MIKE AND KALLI HYDE
AMERICAN DRUG WAR 2 – Cannabis Destiny, a documentary by filmmaker Kevin Booth, closely examines the current state of the government’s war on marijuana in the United States. This powerful film features the story of Mike and Kalli Hyde and their struggle to keep Montana’s youngest medical marijuana patient, Cash Hyde, alive through the use of medical marijuana.
Cash Hyde’s battle with brain cancer captured national attention and was featured in several news stories, including ABC and FOX News. After being told Cash had little hope of surviving, his parents turned to medical marijuana, and his cancer went into remission – called a miracle by the medical community providing him care. That is, until Montana state law changed and licensed caregivers could no longer provide the much-needed medicine to Cash and his cancer returned.
The film will be shown in Billings at the NOVA Center for The Performing Arts, 2317 Montana Ave. - Thursday August 8, 7pm. Ticket prices are $7.00. The movie is presented by the Montana Cannabis Information Association (MTCIA), and proceeds from the movie will benefit both the MTCIA and the Cash Hyde Foundation. Tickets are on sale at Heightened Harvest 1415 S 32nd. St. West, in Billings, 656-115, and at the venue before the show.
A raffle, courtesy of Headies Smoke Shop of Billings, will be held the night of the event. Must be present to win. Proceeds will benefit the MTCIA
Just a reminder, American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny screens at the Wilma Theatre Thursday, July 25, at 7:30 PM, followed by a panel discussion. $7 at Rockin Rudy’s and the Wilma box office. Proceeds go to the Cash Hyde Foundation.
A Missoula Independent review of the movie by Molly Laich can be found here
The attached is a letter from the office Jim Goetz. It seems there is much confusion over whether or not our attorney can accept payments from other organizations outside of the MTCIA. This letter should help clear up that misconception.
Donations for the lawsuit against SB423 and the state of Montana can only be submitted by the MTCIA or another named individual plaintiffs in the case. Please keep this in mind when donating.
The MTCIA wishes to extend a sincere thank you for the continued support. We could not have come this far without dedicated members and activists, committed to preserving access to medical cannabis in Montana.
Last month I had the opportunity to meet several providers and cardholders from Butte and Kalispell. It
was a very productive trip in terms of interacting with our colleagues in the medical cannabis
community. We did collect donations for the Goetz legal fund from generous donors in both Butte and
Kalispell. We still need approximately $30,000 to satisfy the escrow fund for our upcoming hearing
scheduled for May of next year.
We are actively shopping for professional lobbyists for the next legislative session. Our lobbyists will
require additional funding above the legal expenses that we are paying to the Goetz Law Finn.
I have been made aware of other entities who are actively soliciting donations from medical cannabis
providers, allegedly, to pay for our legal fees. MTCIA is the ONLY organization that is paying for the
lawsuit which keeps us all in business. Please do not be scammed into giving donations to
organizations that make fraudulent claims of paying our legal fees.
In addition to our fundraising effort, we will be developing our strategy for the next legislature.
Please join us in Missoula,, July 25th, when The Cash Hyde Foundation Presents – American Drug War 2 at the Wilma Theater in Missoula; 131 S. Higgins Ave Missoula Mt. 59802 7pm Admission. A member of LEAP from Oregon, Shelly Fox-Loken will be attending. Please see the link to the event flyer, below.
MTCIA’s Board Members wish you all a safe and fun summer.
Yours in Solidarity,