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Montana Cannabis Indus. Ass’n v. Montana

    Brief Fact Summary.

    The 2011 Montana Medical Marijuana Act repealed the 2004 Medical Marijuana Act because the legislature wanted to decrease the number of abuses of medical marijuana that began in 2004.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    The legislature’s purpose of enacting a new statute regulating medical marijuana must not offend due process and must be reasonably related to its legitimate government interest.

    Facts.

    The 2011 Montana Medical Marijuana Act repealed the 2004 Medical Marijuana Act and established a new statutory framework. The 2011 Act contains provisions that limits the eligibility of patients to qualify for its protections and activities that the medical providers and professional can conduct. The Act of 2011 was enacted because the Legislature was concerned about the number of abuses that had been occurring since 2004.

    Issue.

    Whether the statute is reasonably related to achieving the legislature’s objective and does not offend due process.

    Held.

    Yes, the statute is not reasonably related to achieving the legislature’s objective and does offend due process in regards to the remuneration restriction, but reasonably related in regards t the three patient limit.

    Dissent.

    The remuneration provision meets the legislatures legitimate purpose. The legislature may believe that the elimination of commercial access to marijuana would decrease the abuse of medical marijuana. Therefore, the remuneration provision passes the rational basis test.

    Discussion.

    Under Section 50-46-308, a medical marijuana provider may only assist a maximum of three registered cardholders.  The legislature believes the limit is required because it keeps the large scale manufacture and sale of marijuana, which may lead to a criminal enterprise. The court found that the three patient limit was reasonably related to the legitimate governmental interest, and it is not a violation of due process. However, the statute states that a medical marijuana provider may not accept anything of value for providing the marijuana to the patients. The court held that this section of the statute fails the rational basis test because it does not prohibit physicians from being compensated for their services of expenses when they examine a patient and provide a written certification for the patient’s medical use of marijuana.  Here, the provision is goes against the legislatures stated purpose for enacting the statute.


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