MTCIA Lawsuit Update & Holiday Message from Billings

December 20, 2011

Late last month, the state of Montana filed its appeal of the temporary injunction against provisions in SB 423 secured last summer in the MTCIA vs. the State of Montana.

Highlights of the state’s argument against the injunction:

  • The right to pursue employment is limited to lawful activities and commercially selling marijuana is illegal under Montana and federal law.
  • There “is no right to pursue health free of government regulations.”
  • The “right to privacy encompasses the right to make medical decisions but that right must be balanced against the State’s police power…”
  • “It is well within the State’s police powers to determine the conditions upon which it makes marijuana legal for medical purposes.”
  • There is no fundamental right to use marijuana. Thus, the proper standard of  judicial scrutiny is rational basis, not strict, as was applied by District Court. (This is the crux of their argument. Definitions of strict scrutiny vs. rational basis scrutiny available at bottom of post.)

You can read the state’s appeal in its entirety here.

The MTCIA’s cross appeal and response to the state must be filed by January 17.

And now a holiday message from MTCIA, Billings. Billings has faced some of the most rabid prohibitionists in the state and stood their ground. Whether supporting the court case or collecting signatures for IR-124, Billings has always made an impressive showing.

From Billings MTCIA member Elizabeth Springman:

The MTCIA’s First annual Christmas mixer and membership drive in Billings was a great success! We had over 50 people in attendance, and I am happy to report, there were many new faces joining us. Ed sold more than 70 t-shirts and all together we managed to raise over $3,700 dollars for the MTCIA! That is amazing!

We all enjoyed a wonderful potluck dinner, great company, a gift exchange and a few brave souls even sang along with Juleen and her karaoke machine! A great time was had by all!

It was good to see so many new faces at our party. I hope all the newcomers who joined us for the festivities, will be back to join us again at our regular monthly meeting in January.

The word is getting out about the Montana Cannabis Industry Association and our continued fight for patients, providers and reliable, safe access to cannabis in Montana.

A big thank you to all who participated and helped make this night a huge success! We couldn’t do this without the support of our members.

Elizabeth P

Thanks, Elizabeth!

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Strict scrutiny vs. Rational basis scrutiny:

Strict scrutiny is the most rigorous form of judicial review. The Supreme Court has identified the right to vote, the right to travel, and the right to privacy as fundamental rights worthy of protection by strict scrutiny. In addition, laws and policies that discriminate on the basis of race are categorized as suspect classifications that are presumptively impermissible and subject to strict scrutiny.

Once a court determines that strict scrutiny must be applied, it is presumed that the law or policy is unconstitutional. The government has the burden of proving that its challenged policy is constitutional. To withstand strict scrutiny, the government must show that its policy is necessary to achieve a compelling state interest. If this is proved, the state must then demonstrate that the legislation is narrowly tailored to achieve the intended result.

vs.

Rational basis is the lowest level of scrutiny that a court applies when engaging in judicial review . . . The rational basis review tests whether a governmental action is a reasonable means to an end that may be legitimately pursued by the government. This test requires that the governmental action be “rationally related” to a “legitimate” government interest.