Posted: May 29, 2012 7:32 PM by Marnee Banks (MTN - Helena)
Updated: May 30, 2012 7:03 AM
HELENA- Oral arguments in the appeal of Montana's Marijuana Act will be heard in the Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday, May 30th beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The Montana Cannabis Industry Association and others have filed a lawsuit challenging the 2011 Montana Marijuana Act (SB 423), arguing the new law violates their constitutional rights to pursue health, a livelihood, and privacy.
Senate Bill 423 states that medical marijuana providers can not be paid for marijuana or marijuana-related products. It also says that providers can only serve three patients at one time and it prohibits the providers from advertising their products.
A year ago District Court Judge Jim Reynolds prohibited the state from enforcing these portions of the law. The State of Montana is now appealing Reynold's decision relating to the number of patients and the exchange of money.
"I am hopeful that the Montana Supreme Court will not want to force on Montana a return to the unregulated explosive growth industry in the state. The Legislature took reasonable steps to restrain that and regulate it. I am hopeful that they will leave those in place," State Senator Jeff Essmann (R-Billings) said Tuesday.
We contacted the attorneys representing the medical marijuana industry and they did not want to comment prior to Wednesday's hearing.
The oral arguments are open to the public, but seating is limited. The proceedings will be available for viewing in the lobby of the State Law Library in Helena and will also be livestreamed via the Internet. (The stream goes live a few minutes before the arguments begin.)