A court ruling by Judge Reynolds relative to our motions for summary judgment on several medical marijuana issues was issued on Friday, January 2. That ruling caused a tsunami of phone calls with more questions than I have answers at the moment. I will attempt to provide a synopsis of the judge’s ruling. The following provisions have been permanently enjoined;
1. The ban on advertising by marijuana businesses.
2. The provision that forbade registered medical marijuana providers from profiting from legal sales of marijuana
to their cardholders.
3. Restriction limiting marijuana providers to 3 cardholders.
4. The provision that limited physicians to 25 medical marijuana referrals in one year without undergoing an automatic review by the Montana Board of Medical Examiners.
Judge Reynolds ruled in the state’s favor by leaving in place the provision that allows law enforcement and the DPHHS to make unannounced inspections of providers during normal business hours.
Please, remember that while these provisions are permanently enjoined, they are still subject to appeal by the state to the Montana Supreme Court. Montana Attorney General, Tim Fox, has 60 days to appeal Judge Reynolds’ ruling. I would wager that the ruling WILL be appealed to the Montana Supreme Court.
The court ruling DOES NOT affect our legislative agenda. If anything, the court ruling has left the providers in a more vulnerable position by allowing unannounced “inspections” by law enforcement. Drug task forces in some counties are being driven solely by a desire to seize the property and assets of legal marijuana providers. SB 423 was written in a manner that makes it nearly impossible to be 100% compliant. The combination of overzealous law enforcement and a severely-flawed marijuana law creates a very dangerous landscape for well-intentioned marijuana providers. PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
Our legislative bill draft (LC 606) is in the final stages of review before being submitted to the Montana Legislature.
I am in the process of scheduling a statewide meeting in Bozeman on the 13th of this month. I have spoken to our Legal Representative, Jim Goetz, and he has agreed to attend the meeting to answer any questions you may have regarding our legal options. I will provide more specific details in a later post.
Happy New Year.
Yours in Solidarity,