Much has been happening since our last post. On November 4, I attended the Montana Supreme Court hearing where our legal team presented oral arguments for keeping our injunctions in place on a permanent basis. The Supreme Court Justices seemed much more engaged than they were 2 years earlier. Their questions were more pointed toward the issues raised by the state’s attorney. I felt that the answers provided by the state to many of the questions posed by the justices were substantially weak, but that is just my personal opinion. Chief Justice McGrath closed the hearing by saying “the court will issue a decision in due course.” We cannot predict exactly when that decision will come, however the court generally issues their decisions within 2-3 months after the hearing.
We have not received the final invoice for our attorney’s work at the hearing, but I am told it will be forthcoming.
We have been keenly focused on the medical cannabis ballot initiative that MTCIA will be presenting for voters’ approval in 2016. We received a letter back from Legislative Services with recommendations for changes. Also included in that letter was a warning that stated, “the proposed statutory initiative that you submitted raises potential federal constitutional issues related to the Supremacy Clause under the United States Constitution, Art. VI, cl 2, that provides that federal law is the “supreme law of the land”. It went on to explain, “Thus subsequent amendments to the Montana Marijuana Act , including those proposed in your statutory initiative, may potentially conflict with federal law and, by extension, may raise potential constitutional conformity issues pursuant to the United States Supreme Court’s holding in Raich.”
Needless to say, that language precipitated a flurry of legal consultations on our part to ensure that the state would not force us to gather 48,000 signatures as required by a constitutional change. We are in the process of completing the changes recommended by Legislative Services and will submit the revised initiative by the end of the week. When that document is completed it will be posted in PDF form for our members to view. We apologize for the delays in presenting the ballot initiative petitions. We are exercising every precaution in crafting the language contained in our initiative to ensure that cardholders, doctors and providers are all adequately protected under the law.
I genuinely hope that our members will share in the enormous workload involved in passing this very important initiative.
Merry Christmas from MTCIA’s Board Members!
Yours in Solidarity,