Montana: Supreme Court Says Patients Possess No Fundamental Right To Cannabis

Members of the Montana Supreme Court ruled 6 to 1 on Tuesday that patients do not possess a fundamental right to access and consume cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The decision reverses a District Court ruling enjoining the state from enforcing various provisions of a 2011 state law that limits the public’s access to medical marijuana.

“In pursuing one’s health, an individual has a fundamental right to obtain and reject medical treatment,” Justice Michael Wheat opined for the majority. “But, this right does not extend to give a patient a fundamental right to use any drug, regardless of its legality.”

He added, “A patient’s ‘selection of a particular treatment, or at least a medication, is within the area of government interest in protecting public health,’ and regulation of that medication does not implicate a fundamental constitutional right.”

The Court further opined that a patient’s “right to privacy does not encompass the affirmative right of access to medical marijuana.”

The majority concluded, “[T]he plaintiffs cannot seriously contend that they have a fundamental right to medical marijuana when it is still unequivocally illegal under the (federal) Controlled Substances Act.”

The Court’s decision allows for the state to fully implement Senate Bill 423, a 2011 law that sought to significantly limit the use, production, and distribution of cannabis among patients who possess a physician’s authorization to consume it.

Montana voters will decide in November on Initiative Referendum 124, which seeks to repeal SB 423. Montana voters in 2004 approved patients’ use of medical cannabis for qualified illnesses by a vote of 62 percent.

Full text of the decision, Montana Cannabis Industry Association et al. v State is available online here.

NORML has additional details about this November’s statewide and municipal ballot initiative at our Smoke the Vote page here.

54 thoughts

  1. the politicians are not doctors so how can they make any decision on our helth as awhole? shouldn’t anything concerning our health be left to those whos job it is??

  2. So we should circumvent rights based on a law that itself is not constitutional? This is a god damn house of cards, but the cards are made of lies instead of paper.

    No kidding, people don’t have a right to access whatever they want. However, how does the shit law cited by the judges prevent them from granting that right in this case? The whole idea that Marijuana is dangerous and the public is served by banning it is a scam and the Schedule One label is a technical failure not a good reason to reduce the public’s rights!

    Christ, these judges are fucking retarded! Do your jobs, stop rubber stamping this drug war garbage with your approval. It is a scam and you are supposed to protect us these kinds of abuses.

  3. It seems to me that they couldn’t be further wrong then they are with this. I can and do ‘seriously’ believe we do have a fundamental right to except or reject any medical treatment or medicines. The Governments ONLY role in this is to make sure that the treatment is not worse then the condition. Cannabis is a safe treatment unlike the drugs you see on TV and the lawsuits you about so many of them. Its fine they have an opinion but to make a ruling or change a ruling because of their opinion only with out any facts is wrong.

  4. keep voting for republicans….
    keep voting for democrats…

    and this is what you get…..

    when one state legalizes marijuana for ALL PURPOSES…I will be moving there…this is bs and it is a war between the rich and poor…

    which side are you on

  5. they’d so much rather have their crappy pharmaceuticals poisoning all the natural resources including our fellow creatures the animals of this earth they are so hell bent on ruining everything in existence that they don’t even care about their own worthless futures

  6. Just cause they rule that we have no right to pot does’nt mean THEY’RE right. They’re wrong. We have the God-given right to ingest ANY drug. These fools are still trying to perpetuate this unjust war just so their egos are satisfied. The people we are against are satan and they’re only for greed and their worthless selves. What crap/shit they are. Never give up! We CAN and WILL win this war if it takes another 100 years.

  7. Dam right it is a ton of BS.We work hard all day to pay a large part of our salaries in taxes,we put our lives on the line in many ways for this country every day.Yet when it comes time to request a small amount of logically personnel freedom,all the government wants to do is put you in a cell and ruin your life.
    I’d like to quote one of our Founding Fathers, who seemed to know a little about Freedom.”The care of human life and happiness,and not their destruction,is the first and only legitimate object of a good government”. There seems to be nothing legitimate about the financial and warrior mentality of these bunch of bullies.

  8. War between the rich and the poor? no both poor and rich like drugs mostly the rich. the US is a waring country and no one will join there services. if they did such a thing a weed and everyone smolked it. the gov wont let it happen

  9. At the end I meant: “It is a scam and you are supposed to protect us from these kinds of abuses; not regulate the abuse!!!”

  10. THE GOVERNMENT IS RUNNING THE us government marijuana cartels , SELLING DRUGS TO OUR CHILDREN SO THEY CAN ROB EVERONE EVEN MORE BY DRAGGING PEOPLE TO JAIL FOR A LITTLE WEED THAT THE fbi, cia, state AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS (INCLUDING POSTAL WORKERS)WHO ARE THE DISTRIBUTERS. tHEN THE GOVERNMENT ASSHOLES GIVE THEMSELVES A PAY RAISE AND WE THE PEOPLE GET OUr PROPERTY TAXES RAISED AFTER THE GOVERNMENT HAS CAUSED EVERYONES PROPERTY VALUES TO BE CUT IN HALF.
    the bottom line is:
    ALL OF YOU GOVERNMENT BASTARDS SUCK. i’VE GOT ONE RIGHT HERE TO STUFF DOWN YOUR GOVERNMENT THROAT. REVOLUTION IS NEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. HERE’S TO WISHING AND HOPING THE US GOVERNMWENT COLLAPSES. MAYBE WE CAN QUIT PAYING TAXES TO GIVE AWAY TO ALL THESE CORRUPTED GOVERNMENT ASSHOLES! AND NO MORE MILITARY BENEFITS, WHEN YOU GET OUT OF THE MILITARY, THATS IT, GET IN THE WORK LINE (I MEAN THE SLAVE LABOR LINE JUST LIKE ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT THEY SUPPOSED CLAIM TO HAVE BEEN HELPING BY GOING INTO THE MILITARY)
    REVOLUTION IS NEAR. THE PEOPLE ARE TIRED OF YOU CORRUPTED GOVERNMENT BULLSHIT!!!!!!

    [Editor’s note: No ALL CAPS, please!]

  12. I thought this was the land of the free? Ridiculous how us as individuals cannot make the choices we want… Instead we have to listen to a bunch of retards make decisions for us? It is not fair and what gives them the right to think they know whats best for everyone…. We need someone who has common sense and wont listen to foreign agencies…. The U.S is fucked and in debt cannabis regulation is the first step into bringing money and jobs back to the US!!!

  13. This seems like circular logic to me. The only people that know if this treatment is correct are doctors(who are trying to help their individual patients), yet it is the politicians(whose only guiding principle is to get votes) that get to decide? I don’t seem to follow.

  14. we have the right to refuse to take any medicine and ask our doctor for an alternative. but we don’t have the right to pursue a particular treatment?

    justin wheat needs to re-examine his answer there. it may be in the governments interset to control substances to ensure their proper dispencing and handling….accouning and accountability. but, it’s not in their interest to legislate my desicion making. nor is it in my interest

  15. WHOA.

    This-

    ““In pursuing one’s health, an individual has a fundamental right to obtain and reject medical treatment,” Justice Michael Wheat opined for the majority. “But, this right does not extend to give a patient a fundamental right to use any drug, regardless of its legality.””

    -is as stupid and distorted as the vomit spewed by Michele Leonhart.

    “…regardless of its legality.”
    morphine is illegal.
    Oxycontin is illegal.
    Ambien is illegal.

    Yet, they are PRESCRIBED by MDs.

    I submit to you, ladies and gentlemen of NORML, that the argument was a carefully crafted rejection, and not a deliberated thought on the subject.

    Dishonor in the courts.

  16. Apparently the members of the Montana Supreme Court are nothing more than Federal Pawns in the insane war against marijuana. It’s really pathetic and I have no respect for them or the laws they advocate.

  17. ADDENDUM…

    there could be… the possibility that
    it was, indded, ‘carefully crafted’.

    IF, as in my previous argument,
    Morphine, Oxycontin, and Ambien
    are, lower Schedules, such that they are ‘medically viable’, yet cannabis is not, due to its absurd relegation to Schedule I-

    then
    that wording, PRECISELY, might be the
    reference to cite in the case for reclassifying cannabis.
    And, the reclassification needs to be pushed so that it is not merely Schedule I –> II
    but a fresh take as to whether MDs and society deem it to be SCHEDULED at all.

    This is our point of attack.

    (and again, thank you NORML.)

  18. I wonder what GOD intended by the whole herb bearing seed thing ? or what the tree of life really is ? rev 22-2 New Living Translation (©2007)
    It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. Sounds like a hydroponic garden of medical marijuana in a modern California greenhouse to me !one tree, twelve fruits , sounds like cannabis to me ! Just Saying !

  19. Hey J – interesting point…

    I don’t think that is what that passage means to indicate…

    But, it was *definitely given
    I would argue…

    Genesis 2 (New King James Version)

    “15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;”

    – I could really go for a good brownie right about now…

  20. Then vote Jill Stein for President. Her party is Green Party. She supports full legalization on marijuana and close DEA. The money DEA have will be rerouted to education. Ok? Please vote Jill Stein on November 6th, 2012.-

  21. Since when is it the State Supreme court’s duty to enforce the federal law concerning marijuana?
    The federal law is based on the commerce clause in the enumerated powers given to congress. This only pertains to trade between the states. This makes it the governor’s duty to uphold the laws passed by the people. Regardless of the supreme courts ruling the people have the final say, and this makes it the duty of the people to replace the elected representatives that defying the will of the people.

  22. The judges in Montana are doing the job what they are paid to do. Unfortunately for the patients, the judges found a higher bidder.

  23. Come on Montana, you don’t have a right to chocolate, but that doesn’t stop ya. Just fess up that you’re intimidated by the Feds don’t blame ya, but ya gotta start by saying you wash your hands of the weed.

  24. Well, what you expect from montana lawyers.. First, the federal gov’t has no explicit constitutional obligation to provide public health. Second, marijuana is not properly classified under federal law, it is notequal to heroin and it does have medinal value. Third, the tenth amendment grants rights not explicit in the constitution to the statesand the people.

    This the problem with lawyers who are not strict in their interpretation of the constitution and have an agenda…

  25. If Justice Michael Wheat were in my presence today, I’d grab him by the hair and smash his head repeatedly and rythmically into a wall, screaming “you stupid fucking moron”.

  26. Unbelieveable, the medical comunity comes out with Opana (oxymorphone)and creats thousands of addicts in a splicket. But don’t touch that reefer it’s a gateway drug. If this wasn’t so funny I would cry.

  27. I’ve read the article, Former DEA Heads Urge Justice Department To Oppose Statewide Marijuana Initiatives, and it’s like having The former president George Herbert Walker Bush running for a fourth term through Mitt Romney.

    The DEA is taking orders from the Nine former directors of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Is this the United States final chapter for Freedom, Liberty, and the U.S. Constitution?

  28. I’m in agony AGAIN after they ground a tooth down yesterday. I called after the numbing shot wore off and was told by the nurse to take twice the maximum dose of Ibuprofen WITH twice the maximum dose of Acetaminophen! She promised to talk to my dentists and call back and discuss a prescription. She never did.

    The last time this happened, I suffered for six weeks, rotating different over the counter meds that didn’t work.

    Is the “logic” to deprive suffering patients of effective treatments because they’re habit forming, forcing us to take high doses of non-habit forming drugs instead?!

    Damn it hurts

  29. I have Chron’s desease. Marijuana works beautifully. My medical treatment is at the Veterans Administration. I was cut off of my pain meds for “failed back syndrome” because i had cannabinoids in my piss. I am fucked.

  30. The legality of a substance does not determine it’s safety. Tobacco has killed millions of people. Cannabis? None. Yet we get crap like this. Plants have been on this planet far,far longer than any creature. If anything, cannabis should ban humans!

  31. The legality of a substance does not determine it’s safety. Tobacco has killed millions of people. Cannabis? None. Yet we get crap like this. Plants have been on this planet far,far longer than any creature.

  32. Anything that doesn’t kill you is good for you. So I guess Marijuana is good for you.? Since it doesn’t kill you.

  33. I broke my shoulder a few weeks ago. On my patient sheet they asked what drugs I was taking. So I listed ibuprofin, prescribed by the emergency room doc, percoset also prescribed by same, and cannabis.

    When I went to the doctor for my 3 week visit, I still had 4 percoset tabs left from the original 10 day supply and I had 10 ibuprofin tabs left (30 were prescribed). Weed makes all the difference. In fact, I told him I was historically a good healer (the bone is nearly fully healed already and it was a 1/4 inch wide break), and I believe its from lifelong toking of cannabis.

  34. Owen, look at people that smoke tobacco vs. those who only smoke herb; the tobacco smokers even appear much older than their age. It is so bad, you might think a 30 year old cigarette smoker is 15 years older than their actual age. While potheads continue to appear younger looking for decades. There is evidence aplenty that herb is just about the best “drug” on the planet, we just need to get everyone to “see it”.

  35. “If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as a sorry state as the souls who live under tyranny.”

    ? Thomas Jefferson

  36. Government interest in protecting public health? Did he really say that? Wonder what kind or fairy dust his doctor has him on. Better yet how much was he paid to say something so stupid.

  37. The South was for supporting states’ rights, thus the civil war. And that war was lost. So it makes sense the judges, no matter the issue, want to keep their national power.

    This national power could be utilized.

    The President could instantly pardon every offender of marijuana offenses, and that would be the beauty of national control.

  38. We all know that our Government is a bunch of crooked, two face, lying, fuck tards when in comes to maryjane. Karma should get them all.

  39. If our “justice system” cannot find any justice for potheads, how is it supposed to work for anyone else? Oh wait, it’s not! Innocent people put to death by retarded police just looking to “close the case”.

    So instead of fixing the system so as to include “justice” we just ban the death penalty. When are we going to make the goverment follow the laws of our land? Needle citizens for pot, but fund terrorism via the CIA, makes a lot of sense if you’re crazy–and none of which is legal!

    This country needs a head check. We are fighting a war against terrorism and we are previously the largest terrorist country in the world. We ended WWII by dropping nukes on civilians. There is hardly a better example of terrorist activity in history. We terrorized people in many contries which is why so many hate us. It has nothing to do with them “hating our freedoms”, but our insane leaders killing their friends and family or training MS-13, Sadamm Hussien or Al queda to torture and kill their fellow country men. Our government doesn’t prosecute these crimes. Sometimes some patsy gets fired. I guess Americans don’t have to answer for War Crimes, just everyone else.

    Our goverment is constantly over stepping its role in our society, ignores the constitution and the rights of its citizens, even saying corporations are “people” but is not sure if babies are people. Seriously needs a head check. Oh, and now that there are fewer and fewer places our nutty leaders can play their illegal games in other countries, the more they turn inward and arrest their own people for marijuana.

    Ryan and Romney plan to set US up in a permenent holy way in the Middle East… Why??? Endless holy war is good, but pot is bad. Yeah, their heads are on straight.

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