About 11,000 signatures for the referendum to put SB 423 on the 2012 ballot have been collected. To get the 15% needed to suspend the law as well as get it on the ballot, we need to collect about 1000 signatures a day between now and September 30.
The signatures are out there. The only question is whether or not we have the resources in people, dollars, and energy to secure them. Go here for places where you can sign the petition. A heartfelt thanks to all those out there carrying the clipboards.
The MTCIA has been re-grouping and apologizes for the quiet from the blog. The month of July was rocky. Thanks to the lawsuit, businesses are allowed to continue to operate. Without the lawsuit and injunction, access in Montana would have been destroyed and no one would be in business. However, the timeline for paperwork with the state as people become “providers” (since “caregivers” no longer exist) has made operating risky and patients have gone without access. The Bitterroot, in particular, has suffered the consequences of this murky timeframe with raids on cannabis farmers and even patients.
Hopefully, in August, we can re-stabilize.
The referendum committee, Patients for Reform, Not Repeal, has requested assistance from the MTCIA in taking care of their expenses. We also still owe our attorney in the neighborhood of $40,000 and, in addition, have organizational expenses. More than 94% of the contributions to the MTCIA have gone directly to the Goetz law firm. The rest has gone to administrative costs, professional services, and gas.
The success of the referendum is critical to address provisions the judge allowed to go into effect. These provisions include discrimination against chronic pain patients, patients on probation, cohabitating patients in same-sex relationships or patients who are cohabitating (but not married) couples. The cost for a chronic pain patient seeking a medical cannabis referral has more than doubled in some incidences under the new law. Provisions in SB 423 that the judge allowed to go into effect also include rules regarding plant size and limits that some cannabis farmers are finding confusing and have questions about. When plant rules are confusing and the legislature has appointed no one to help clarify them, it creates a dangerous situation, legally, for all providers and for patients who grow for themselves.
In the past couple of weeks, the MTCIA has been strategizing about how we can structure fundraising and human resources in order to attend to the myriad of needs before us. We will be sponsoring a statewide phone call for this Sunday night to share our thoughts. We will follow up the call with community meetings the next week to get your feedback. Details to follow soon.
Time is of the essence. Over and over, it seems. Many people report not knowing what it is that keeps them committed but a sense of what’s true and what’s right. The commitment also comes from the knowledge that we’re not that far from the goal. The majority knows that the cannabis lies are just that and are looking for reason and common sense to prevail.
Remember – an MTCIA fundraiser this Friday, Bozeman’s Battle of the Bands. Go here for more details.
To read a mini lesson on warrants and searches from the Lindsey Law Office go here.