Judge temporarily blocks parts of new Montana medical marijuana law

2011-07-01T06:30:00Z 2011-07-01T06:31:51Z Judge temporarily blocks parts of new Montana medical marijuana lawBy CHARLES S. JOHNSON Missoulian State Bureau missoulian.com

HELENA - A Helena district judge on Thursday temporarily blocked some of what the medical marijuana industry deemed the most onerous parts of the new law that takes effect Friday.

However, District Judge James Reynolds refused to temporarily block implementation of the entire law as the Montana Cannabis Industry Association and other plaintiffs had sought.

Reynolds temporarily struck several major provisions of the law from taking effect and in so doing, returned the law to what it had been before:

Forbidding medical marijuana providers (formerly called caregivers) from charging patients for medical pot as they could previously. By his ruling, providers can continue to charge patients for medical marijuana.

Limiting to three the number of patients (known as cardholders) a provider may grow for, while the current law had no limits. Reynolds' ruling will allow providers to sell medical marijuana for as many patients as they wish.

"The ban on providers receiving compensation and limiting the number of cardholders that each provider can serve will certainly limit the number of willing providers and will thereby deny the access of Montanans otherwise eligible for medical marijuana to this legal product and thereby deny these persons this fundamental right of seeking their health in a lawful manner," Reynolds wrote.

Reynolds added: "By these provisions, the Legislature is attempting to make it as difficult and as inconvenient for persons eligible under state law to use medical marijuana to obtain this legally authorized product."

Allowing local and state law enforcement officials to make unannounced inspections of the premises of where providers grow medical marijuana. Under his ruling, these searches will not be allowed for the time being.

Requiring that physicians who recommend medical marijuana for more than 25 patients in any 12-month period be automatically subject to a review by the state Board of Medical Examiners at the physician's cost. His ruling will maintain the status quo in which physicians can recommend medical marijuana to as many patients as they deem reasonable medically.

"The court is unaware of and has not been shown where any person in any other licensed and lawful industry in Montana - be he a barber, an accountant, a lawyer or a doctor - who, providing a legal product or service, is denied the right to charge for that service or is limited in the number of people he or she can serve," Reynolds wrote.

Banning any advertising for medical marijuana. Reynolds ruled that medical marijuana advertising is allowed.

"Medical marijuana is, under this law, a legal substance," the judge said. "Advertising concerning it cannot be banned consistent with First Amendment principles."

***

Lawyers for Attorney General Steve Bullock conceded that temporarily enjoining most of these provisions wouldn't affect the integrity of the rest of the law.

The temporary injunction of certain sections of the bill will stand until the court has a hearing and decides whether to issue a permanent injunction.

After Gov. Brian Schweitzer this year vetoed a bill that would have repealed the voter-passed 2004 initiative that legalized medical marijuana in Montana, lawmakers passed another bill that sought to impose some tougher restrictions on an industry that many considered out of control.

Montana has seen an explosion of medical marijuana cardholders from 4,000 in September 2009 to 31,500 as of May. The cardholders skyrocketed after the Obama administration's Justice Department said in the fall of 2009 it wouldn't prosecute people who use or distribute medical marijuana in states that had legalized it. The administration is reconsidering the policy, and said Thursday that marijuana dispensaries and licensed growers in states with medical marijuana laws like Montana could face prosecution for violating federal drug and money-laundering laws.

Another major factor that led to the escalating number of medical marijuana cards here were "cannabis caravans" that signed up thousands of patients around the state. People saw physicians, often from out of state and sometimes by video conferencing, or only a few minutes at times before obtaining recommendations for cards. That practice has been banned by the Board of Medical Examiners.

It wasn't a complete victory for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, which had asked that the entire law be stricken temporarily.

 

Copyright 2015 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Jenna Cederberg presents the latest news you need to know about today's headlines in ab…

Sidney tornado

Sidney tornado

Dexter Jensen shot this video of a tornado that touched down Tuesday near Sidney.

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Martin Kidston presents the latest news you need to know about today's h…

Richard Sullivan reads a statement at his sentencing.

Richard Sullivan reads a statement at his sentencing.

Sullivan gives a statement at his sentencing.

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Jenna Cederberg presents the latest news you need to know about today's …

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Rob Chaney presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Jenna Cederberg presents the latest news you need to know about today's …

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Kate Haake presents the latest news you need to know about today's headl…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Martin Kidston presents the latest news you need to know about today's h…

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

The 4:06 – trending topics and hot headlines

Missoulian reporter Martin Kidston presents the latest news you need to know about today's h…

loading...

Search our events calendar