The hearing begins at 8:30 a.m. Monday before state District Court Judge James Reynolds of Helena and is expected to last two days according to AP reports.
The law puts new restrictions on who can obtain medical marijuana cards, limits caregivers to growing the drug for up to three people and does not allow them to charge their customers.
Montana’s program is one of the strictest in the nation with the new guidelines for patients using marijuana for Chronic Pain, the most common reason medical marijuana cards are issued. Under the new law, patients will have to provide proof that they suffer from chronic pain, such as an x-ray, or they will have to have two different physicians agree on the diagnosis.
The new law also sets up strict rules for cultivation and will essentially do away with the state’s dispensary system. Starting July 1 marijuana can no longer be sold and caregivers must be volunteers who provide marijuana to no more than three patients. Caregivers also must register with the Health Department, be fingerprinted and submit to a background check.
Cannabis activists point out the new law potentially violates the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to equal protection, privacy, dignity, freedom of speech and due process, according to the complaint. The injunction was filed last month by Bozeman attorneys James Goetz, J. Devlan Geddes and Jim Barr Coleman.
As of May 31, Montana had about 30,500 people with medical marijuana cards. After the hearing, the judge will have up to two weeks to issue a decision, which may be to strike all, or parts, or none of SB 423 prior to its implementation date of July 1st.