Montana: Judge Halts Imposition Of New Restrictions On Medical Marijuana Doctors And Providers

Helena, MT: A District Judge on Thursday issued a temporary injunction barring the enforcement of several new, restrictive provisions in the state’s medical marijuana law.

In May, Democrat Gov. Brian Schweitzer allowed Senate Bill 423 to become law without his signature. The new law, which legislators enacted with the intent of significantly reducing the existing number of state authorized patients, took effect on July 1.

However, several of the more restrictive provisions in the law will not go into effect. Specifically, Helena District Judge James Reynolds enjoined the requirement that advising physicians be reported to the state Board of Examiners if they recommend cannabis to more than 25 patients per year. Other restrictions limited marijuana providers to distributing to a maximum of three patients, allowing for unannounced searches of providers, and barring them from receiving anything of value for their product were also struck down.

John Masterson of Montana NORML said of the ruling, “This is a victory for all Montanans, regardless of your position on marijuana policy. It means that ideologue legislators should think twice before overturning the will of the people with unconstitutional and capricious new legislation.”

State medical marijuana advocates are also moving forward with a referendum to allow voters to decide in 2012 whether any provisions of SB 423 should remain law. In June, the Secretary of State’s office approved the language of the proposed petition. Advocates have until September the gather the necessary number of signatures from registered voters. Doing so will block the entirety of the law from taking effect pending a vote of the people in 2012.

Montana NORML will be hosting a fundraising concert, Marijuana Aid 2011, to help offset legal and campaign costs on July 23, 2011. More information about this event is available online at:

For more information, please visit Montana NORML online at: