Medical Marijuana Industry in Montana Fights Back

Medical Marijuana Industry in Montana Fights Back

5/22/2011

Following the passage of the medical marijuana “reform” bill that would penalize dispensaries and big, multi-patient grows, some dispensary operators and growers are already shutting down their operations. However, others are organizing to undo the attempt of the legislature to destroy the industry.

The newly formed group called the Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MCIA) has announced that it will be moving forward on two fronts. It has hired the services of an attorney to seek a temporary injunction from the court to block the measure from going into effect. It has also begun a signature campaign seeking to put the issue before the voters on the November 2012 ballot.

MCIA board member Kate Cholewa told the Chronicle that they are moving forward on the injunction and the referendum. “The injunction challenges the law. That’s one prong. The other prong is the signature-gathering campaign. If we are successful in gathering those signatures, that would keep the law from going into effect and we would be on the ballot in 2012,” said Cholewa.

An outright repeal bill, which was passed by the Republican legislature, has been vetoed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D). However, he said that while he finds the second bill unpleasant, he will allow it to become a law without bearing his signature. Activists hold little hope that the governor’s mind can be changed before his 10-day period to take action ends on Friday.

Cholewa said that it is not something that they expect to happen. “You can’t say the door is closed until Friday, but the political environment around here is such that it’s unlikely,” she said.

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com