Things have been a little bit crazy in Montana’s medical marijuana industry since the beginning of the year – thousands of patients face the loss of access to their medicine, and whether this is only temporarily or not remains in limbo for now. Earlier this year, the Montana Supreme Court finally made a decision regarding a law that was supposed to be implemented back in 2011, which would put extreme limitations on the medical cannabis industry, making it almost impossible for patients to get legal access, ensuring that the program fails.
It didn’t take long before the Montana Cannabis Industry Association decided to sue the state of Montana for their decision that will impact at least 10,000 lives. It’s been about three months since they filed their lawsuit and unfortunately, we’re finding out now that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear their case against the state of Montana. This is extremely disappointing, but there are some who predicted this outcome from the very beginning.
On the bright side, there is definitely still a chance that medical marijuana laws could be restored in Montana as the Cannabis Industry Association is awaiting signature validation for Initiative I-182, which would expand the medical marijuana program and continue to allow patients access to their medicine. Once signatures are validated, it will be voted on in November during the election where the citizens would say once again whether or not they want medical marijuana in their state.
“Earlier this month we did file for a stay on that decision in district court. In that request, we requested the stay on the Montana Supreme Court’s Decision till either the SCOTUS decision, which came today, or the election, whichever is later.”
In order to hopefully limit – or possibly eliminate – the gap between patients having legal access, the Cannabis Industry Association has also filed for a “stay” on the decision – meaning instead of being implemented on August 1st of this year, it would at the very least be held off until voters got their say in November. Whether or not the stay will be granted has not been determined by a judge.
Sadly, while there are so many working towards ensuring that patients have access to medicine that helps them, there is also a group working to ensure that medical marijuana never sees the light of day in the state of Montana. A group called SafeMontana, who have a competing ballot initiative that is also pending signature validation at the moment – Initiative-176 would make all drugs illegal under federal law, illegal under state law once again – basically forcing the medical marijuana industry to shut down and returning to prohibition.
Hopefully enough people will have a family member, friend, co-worker or someone close to them who either uses medical marijuana, or actively advocates for it – because the honest, true stories of medical marijuana patients, those who will be losing their quality of life right along with this program, who will be able to ensure them voting for medical marijuana is the right thing to do. It passed once in the state of Montana – let’s hope voters make the same decision this November.