Thank You Missoula, Butte, & Now We Wait on Injunction

Many thanks go out to those who organized the Missoula MTCIA fundraiser. Special thanks to Rose Habib for on-the-ground organizing, and to Terry Betschart and Gabe McMurray for their donation of silent auction items. We also received the anonymous donation of a grow tent for auction. (MTCIA board member Ed Docter did a pretty hilarious job in the role of auctioneer). Thank you out there, anonymous one. Belated thanks to Butte, too, who by all accounts put together a Butte-style, rock it out, jam of a fundraiser. (Thanks Silverbow Coalition, Jeremy Irons, Mile High Caregivers, Tanya Lafond, Terry Betschart, and Fist in Your Face for great music.)

Senator Ron Erickson also attended the Missoula fundraiser and addressed the group. Senator Erickson has been involved with the medical marijuana issue longer than most. Before I – 148 was an initiative, it was a bill presented to the Montana legislature (’03) carried by Erickson. When the legislature failed to pass it, it went on to become what we know of as I – 148. Erickson encouraged the group to move forward on all fronts: the lawsuit, the referendum, and supporting and electing better people who are going to support the will of Montana citizens.

And now we nail-bite and wait for Judge Reynolds’ opinion. If some provisions are enjoined and some are not, it’s hard to say what the net result will be, bad or good, workable or not, for patients and providers. Best outcome, the entire law is enjoined. Worst outcome, SB 423 goes into effect. But given all the unconstitutional provisions, which even the state concedes to, that seems unlikely.

Provisions the state has indicated they would accept being enjoined:

– advertising ban

– 25-recommendations trigger physician review

– unannounced searches

– ban on payment for service (after Judge Reynolds indicated he thought it was an issue)

But this still leaves us with onerous-to-impossible standards for patient certifications, three-patient limits for providers, and an array of other provisions that interfere with patient service.

It’s pretty messed up that indictments from the March 14th raids got served Wednesday night, right on the heels of a hearing where the outcome for us was looking positive. It’s sad that it was predictable. As we saw when the Senate Judiciary tabled the repeal bill and the March raids were launched, the feds have no problem using police action to pressure state decision-making and makers.

Gives one the willies.

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