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A few days ago I told you that the governor seemed to be pleased with SB 423, a bill that would demolish the legal cannabis industry in Montana and make it more difficult for patients to have safe and reliable access. Since I wrote those words, he has stated in no uncertain terms that he intends to allow the bill to become law. It is scheduled to become the new law of the land on July 1st.
An at-a-glance summary of the new law for patients, caregivers, and doctors, is here: http://blog.montananorml.org/2011/04/30/highlights-of-montanas-new-medical-marijuana-law/ (please read this)
Activist leaders across the state are mobilizing to stop SB 423 from becoming law. This involves multiple strategies:
- Persuade the governor to veto. He has said he will not, but we should keep pushing until he does. Read below for how to do so.
- File legal actions to block the law from taking effect based on constitutional objections. More on that front soon. If you know about such an effort, let me know so I can help coordinate. It could be really bad to have bunch of separate efforts! UPDATE 5/4/2011: Visit http://mtcia.org for info about how to donate to this effort!
- Collect signatures to block the law from taking effect and allow the voters of Montana to decide whether SB 423 is the right way to regulate medical marijuana.
Here are a few details on each effort:
This is a best case scenario. If the governor vetoes SB 423, we are left with the existing law — subject to any new administrative rules that the state provides, a function that has always been available to them, but they chose not to use. We need to pressure the governor to take this option — veto the bill, and create a regulatory infrastructure via administrative rules. He has the power to do this.
Tell him so:
- Click here: http://www.montanadrugpolicy.org/alert/46
- Click here: http://governor.mt.gov/contact/commentsform.asp
- Call: (406) 444-3111 and urge the governor to veto SB 423 and
regulate medical marijuana via administrative rules.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. These messages matter!
- Show up:
Whitefish — Thursday May 5th, 11:30AM, Whitefish Performing Arts Center. The governor will be attending this event, and we would like to see a mass of people, dressed in their Sunday best, politely holding “VETO SB 423” signs. Contact our friend Ed Docter to coordinate: firstname.lastname@example.org or see the Facebook event page here.
2. Legal Action
It is possible that the right legal action, launched in the right jurisdiction, could prevent or delay implementation of SB 423.
My gut feeling is that there are probably 10+ big growers out there, with a bundle of cash and a top-shelf lawyer ready to do this — but, please, you guys, slow down, and consider this:
If multiple suits are launched in different jurisdictions that argue some of the same points, it’s possible that the suits could be combined to be heard in one court — which might be the worst court we could be in.
So, if you and your attorney are hot-to-trot to sue, please let us know so we can help coordinate the various efforts into one which is strategically and legally sound. We want to connect the experts into a team, so we can win.
UPDATE 5/4/2011: Visit http://mtcia.org for info about how to donate to this effort!
Montana law allows us the possibility of blocking an act of the legislature if we gather enough signatures. It’s a big number, something like 100,000 signatures.
If it comes to this, we will need to recruit 1000 signature gatherers. If you would like to volunteer to lead regional signature gathering, please email email@example.com and let us know — include your city and phone number and any special skills or resources you have (like a crew of 10 volunteers ready to help, for example). If you can pledge to gather 20 sigs, that counts! Let us know.
We cannot gather signatures yet. It is a legal process, which is unlikely to be complete before June. Sit tight, the delay is absolutely unavoidable.
There is a whirlwind of activity statewide to combat the new law. Please forward this message to your friends. Things are happening, and we’ll need your help to succeed. Let us know if you are part of a regional group that intends to be involved and we’ll help coordinate.