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Medical Marijuana

Jun 30, 2011 7:37 PM by KXLH

Judge rules on Montana medical marijuana law

A district judge in Helena has issued a partial injunction against Montana's new medical marijuana law .

The decision prevents several parts of the new law from taking effect, but leaves a a majority of the Legislature's new medical marijuana law intact.

District Judge James Reynolds issued his ruling just before 5pm on Thursday.

Among the provisions Reynolds is putting on hold is one that prohibits marijuana providers from advertising their services, and charging patients for providing medical pot.

The ruling also tosses out a provision that would have allowed unannounced inspections of caregivers and growers premises.

Last week, during a three day hearing in Helena, petitioners tried to prove that the new law violated the constitutional rights of Montanans.

During that hearing, the state agreed that parts of the new bill were flawed and conceded to have the judge rule out portions of it.

We will have more information and reaction from both sides of the issue soon; in the meantime, here is the verbatim text of the preliminary injunction, and verbatim excerpts from the affected parts of the law.

Click here to read the complete text of the judge's decision (PDF, 16 pages).

The summary portion of the ruling reads as follows:

1. The State of Montana is hereby enjoined from enforcing the following sections of Senate Bill 423:
a. Section 20 entitled "Advertising prohibited;"
b. Sections 14(1), (2), and (3), the section entitled "Inspection Procedures."
c. Section 3(10), the section entitled "Department responsibilities - issuance of cards - confidentiality - reports."
d. Sections 5(3), 5(4), and 5(6)(a) and (b), the section entitled "Provider types - requirements - limitations - activities."

2. The remaining provisions of Senate Bill may take effect as scheduled.

3. This preliminary injunction shall remain in effect until further order of the court.

Here are the portions of SB 423 referenced in the ruling:

Section 20. Advertising prohibited. Persons with valid registry identification cards may not advertise marijuana or marijuana-related products in any medium, including electronic media.

Section 14. Inspection procedures.
(1) The department and state or local law enforcement agencies may conduct unannounced inspections of registered premises.
(2) (a) Each provider and marijuana-infused products provider shall keep a complete set of records necessary to show all transactions with registered cardholders. The records must be open for inspection by the department and state or local law enforcement agencies during normal business hours.
(b) The department may require a provider or marijuana-infused products provider to furnish information that the department considers necessary for the proper administration of [sections 1 through 23].
(3) (a) A registered premises, including any places of storage, where marijuana is cultivated, manufactured, or stored is subject to entry by the department or state or local law enforcement agencies for the purpose of inspection or investigation during normal business hours.
(b) If any part of the registered premises consists of a locked area, the provider or marijuana-infused products provider shall make the area available for inspection without delay upon request of the department or state or local law enforcement officials.

Section 3. Department responsibilities -- issuance of cards -- confidentiality -- reports.
(10) (a) The department shall provide the board of medical examiners with the name of any physician who provides written certification for 25 or more patients within a 12-month period. The board of medical examiners shall review the physician's practices in order to determine whether the practices meet the standard of care.
(b) The physician whose practices are under review shall pay the costs of the board's review activities.

Section 5. Provider types -- requirements -- limitations -- activities.
(3) (a) (i) A provider or marijuana-infused products provider may assist a maximum of three registered cardholders.
(ii) A person who is registered as both a provider and a marijuana-infused products provider may assist no more than three registered cardholders.
(b) If the provider or marijuana-infused products provider is a registered cardholder, the provider or marijuana-infused products provider may assist a maximum of two registered cardholders other than the provider or marijuana-infused products provider.
(4) A provider or marijuana-infused products provider may accept reimbursement from a cardholder only for the provider's application or renewal fee for a registry identification card issued under this section.
(6) A provider or marijuana-infused products provider may not:
(a) accept anything of value, including monetary remuneration, for any services or products provided to a registered cardholder;
(b) buy or sell mature marijuana plants, seedlings, cuttings, clones, usable marijuana, or marijuana-infused products;

Click here to read the full text of the law on the MT Legislature website.

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