The Montana Supreme Court dealt a huge blow to thousands of patients last week in the legal challenge to the state’s medical marijuana law. Under the ruling, medical marijuana providers, known as caregivers, will be limited to two patients — or three if the caregiver is also a patient. By comparison, the average caregiver in Montana serves 14 patients.
In addition, the court ruled that doctors who recommend medical marijuana to 25 or more patients in a 12-month period will face an audit of their practice by the state. The only provision of the law the court blocked is the ban on compensation for caregivers. A copy of the ruling is available here.
We expect the Department of Public Health and Human Services will send letters out to patients and caregivers with more information, and those affected should watch the state’s website for updates.
It is possible the state legislature could reconsider its harmful law when it reconvenes in 2017. In addition, the Montana Cannabis Information Association, which brought the legal action, has vowed to take the matter to voters through a voter initiative aimed at the November 2016 election. Another initiative effort currently gathering signatures for this year’s election would legalize marijuana for all adult consumers 21 or over, similar to alcohol.