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Montana Supreme Court Deliberating on the Medical Marijuana Debate
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On Wednesday, the Montana Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on separate appeals filed by the state of Montana and the Montana Cannabis Industry Association and others on the use of medical marijuana. The appeals are in context of separate portions of a 2011 temporary injunction by a district court that blocked parts of a strict 2011 law from being implemented.

The Supreme Court has limited oral arguments to only two issues arising from the judgment of the district court:

First, whether the district court erred in preventing the ban on medical marijuana cardholders compensating providers for marijuana products, and for preventing the law from limiting a provider from selling pot to a maximum of three cardholders. These blocks created by the district court is being challenged by the state.

  
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The next issue to be heard is whether the district court erred in denying a preliminary injunction blocking the entire 2011 Medical Marijuana Act, instead of blocking only five sections. This has been challenged by the Montana Cannabis Industry Association.

The law at issue, SB423 is severely criticized by medical marijuana advocates. Attorneys James Goetz and Devlan Geddes for the pro-medical marijuana group wrote that “SB 423, in its entirety, is an unconstitutional broadside on the rights of Montanans … The central problem with the act … is that it is calculated to deny all reasonable access to medical marijuana.”

According to the cannabis industry lawyers, the real problem with the law is that it tries “to choke off access to medical marijuana for those in need by eliminating caregiver producers.”

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The state attorney general’s office, however, contended that the district court had erred by applying “a fundamental rights analysis to the production, sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes.”





 

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