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,