Judge Blocks Medical Marijuana Restrictions In Montana

MONTANA: A state district judge late Friday permanently blocked enforcement of key provisions of Montana’s strict 2011 medical marijuana law in a drawn-out legal case that began shortly after its passage.

District Judge James Reynolds of Helena permanently enjoined the implementation of certain key provisions in the law.

The provisions have never taken effect, either because of his 2011 decision temporarily blocking implementation of the law or the state stipulating it would not enforce the provisions pending a final court decision.

In his latest decision, Reynolds permanently blocked enforcement of provisions that would:

  • Ban the advertising of medical marijuana.
  • Forbid the commercial sale, for profit, of medical marijuana from a provider to someone authorized to obtain the product. The provision essentially meant that medical marijuana cardholders had to grow their own pot and forbade any payment to growers except for covering the cost of a provider’s application or renewal fee paid to the state.
  • Restrict a medical marijuana provider from assisting more than three people licensed by the state to obtain legal pot or marijuana-infused products, again without them being able to be paid.
  • Require the state to provide the Board of Medical Examiners with the names of any physician who within a 12-month period has written certification for medical marijuana for 25 or more patients. That would have triggered an automatic review of the physician’s practices, at his expense, by the Board of Medical Examiners.

After Steep Decline, Montana Medical Marijuana Numbers Hold Steady

MONTANA:  It was hard to avoid noticing medical marijuana just a few years ago in Montana, but a law passed in 2011 reeled in an industry that many said was out of control.

Recent data shows the number of people with medical marijuana cards has dropped from more than 30,000 to about 7,500.

The number of cardholders diagnosed with severe or chronic pain has dropped from more than 23,000 to less than 5,000, and the number of providers has plummeted from more than 4,600 to just 294.

Some even stronger restrictions in Senate Bill 423 that could effectively end the medical marijuana program are held up – for now – in court.

But the bill’s sponsor, Montana State Senator Jeff Essman (R), says the numbers are about where he’d like to see them: “You know for a program that is intended to benefit the truly medically needy, that number is about what I would expect. Number one, most Montanans are relatively happy with the way that the program is functioning now.”