It has been a very, very long road for the Montana medical marijuana community. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2004 in Montana, gutted by the Montana Supreme Court in 2011, and voters voted to restore the program on Election Day 2016. A problem with the 2016 initiative was thought to delay implementation for quite some time, however, a federal judge recently ruled that the medical marijuana provider provisions need to be implemented immediately. Below is a message I received from the Marijuana Policy Project about it yesterday:
In an important new development, District Court Judge James Reynolds ruled today that medical marijuana providers may serve more than three patients starting immediately. This is welcome news to over 11,000 patients who may now re-establish critical access to medical marijuana. Without the ruling, severe limitations for patients would not have been removed until July of 2017. Following today’s decision, there is no need for delay.
Voters in Montana adopted I-182 in November, undoing many harmful provisions in the state medical marijuana law and creating new protections for businesses. Unfortunately, a typo contained in the measure suggested that providers could not re-establish their relationship with patients well into next year. The state would not simply correct the error, so the Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MTCIA), which supported the measure, sought relief in state court. Today’s ruling is yet another victory for patients and those who provide to them.
Special thanks to the MTCIA and their supporters for their hard work in support of the measure, and for taking the matter to court when relief was critical to thousands.
This is welcome news and a big win! Please take a moment to help spread the word, and forward this message to your network in Montana.
Senior Legislative Counsel
Marijuana Policy Project