Donations and The Future of the Lawsuit

May 1, 2012

We’ve taken some serious hits from the federal government over the last year (on top of the ones delivered by our own state government).  The recent round of federal indictments and raids has had a seriously detrimental effect on what is remaining of Montana’s medical marijuana industry.  Our state law obviously offers no guarantee of protection from federal intrusion and our State Attorney General, as well as every other state-elected official, all continue to remain mum on the harassment and damage being done to their own citizens.  Understandably, providers across the state have been shutting down in an effort of self-preservation.   As the number of providers has dwindled, so have the incoming donations to pay for the lawsuit fighting SB 423.

Well folks, it’s now time for everyone to really consider what this lawsuit means to you.

The MTCIA is saddened to say that we cannot continue with this lawsuit at the rate that donations are flowing in now.  The lawsuit heads back to District Court after oral arguments on May 30 and could easily cost another $100,000 or more.  We cannot in good faith go forward with a lawsuit that we cannot pay for.  To be very clear, when and if that decision is made, it will be made by the industry as a whole due to lack of financial support and not because the MTCIA decided to call it quits.  If donations do not increase significantly, that is unfortunately where we are left standing.

No one should need reminding that this lawsuit is the only thing that has kept this industry alive since SB 423 was enacted as law.  It is safe to assume that most providers would not still exist if SB 423 was in full effect.  Is it unreasonable to expect for everyone that has benefited from this lawsuit to contribute something?  Anything?  Many have given (some much more than others) and we really hope that you can still keep giving.  We also understand that everyone has different financial circumstances that limit what they can contribute.  Yet there are still those out there that haven’t donated a single dime and have still reaped the benefits.   Some are simply not donating because they don’t like what the MTCIA has or hasn’t done or they just don’t like a board member.  It’s a lot like shooting yourself in the foot to have an attitude like that.   The primary reason the MTCIA exists right now is to pay for the lawsuit, the lawsuit that has allowed you to keep serving your patients.  If you can’t support that, then you’re just riding the coattails of those that do.  It really isn’t fair, but there is no way to make anyone do the right thing.

The flip side to all of this is wondering if the lawsuit is really worth it.  Should the MTCIA’s sole existence be to pay for a lawsuit that will not offer any protection whatsoever from the federal government?  Yes, the state law is unjust, but it is the federal intrusion that is hurting us most now.  U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter has made it clear that he will continue to go after all large-scale operations.  Where do they draw the line at for ‘large-scale?  Who does that leave left to support the lawsuit?  Are our extremely limited resources better off used for something else?  These are questions we would like everyone to consider.

In the meantime, we still have a balance with our lawyer and will owe more for the upcoming oral arguments.  Our PayPal donation button is on the top right of the page for your convenience.  If you don’t want to use PayPal, you can mail donations here:  MTCIA, P.O. Box 9085, Missoula, MT 59807.  Regardless of the future might hold, it is still essential to our industry’s public image for all of this to end with a zero balance.  It is the right thing to do.  Anything else will just get used against us in the future.