SB423 UPDATE: Governor Schweitzer, MMJ Bill is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Montana NORML Action Alert: Please Veto SB 423


UPDATE Judge’s Ruling on SB-423 Injunction June 30, 2011 PDF UPDATE

May 14, 2011: News UPDATE for SB423 Rallies, Protests, Advertising and SB423 becoming LAW!!!



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SB423 Opposition Rallies, Protests, Marches, Gatherings, Assembly UPDATES: Lawsuits status May 10, 2011

UPDATE from:

 What we are doing…

Our Defense is not a secret, and our legislature has been educated on what we are able to do to combat this REPEAL in DISGUISE…they are counting on the divisions within our community, because they know that if we would work together, we could defeat them.

We have a four stage missile that we have launched, and every person in this country can help at each stage. The efforts include:

  • Attempting to get the Governor to VETO SB423 & trying to convince those legislators who don’t want medical marijuana, to change their minds.

  • Court action against the State of Montana, including an injunction that halts SB423, keeping the existing laws in place.

  • Petitions and signature drives, all over Montana, that will effectively IMMEDIATELY repeal the SB423 once it does become law.

  • Writing our own initiative that will provide Montanans with the available access to the medicine we need.

UPDATE May 11, 2011: Events Around Montana to FIGHT SB432!

Rәvolution… Wed, May 11th, 4pm

Missoula MMGA Meeting… Wed, May 11th, 6:30pm

Free Event Filled with Information about SB423…  Fri, May 13th, 4pm

Montana Medical Marijuana Backers… Fri, May 13th, 4:20pm

UPDATE May 10, 2011: Montana NORML

Another short update after a long day:

We — all of you — came through for the MTCIA’s initial fundraising
goal, $50,000 to hire superstar attorney James Goetz. In 4 days!

This was phase one, a test to show that we could come together, unify
behind a common goal, and get something big done. We did it!

More here:

MTCIA ( will need your ongoing donations to complete
the lawsuit, assist the signature gathering campaign, and more. Stay tuned.

By the way, MTCIA has a new mailing address:

Montana Cannabis Industry Association
PO Box 9085
Missoula, MT 59807

Thanks to all who came out to the Global Marijuana March in Missoula
over the weekend. Video of the kickoff here:


From various folks out in the world:

Wednesday, May 11, in Helena:
“May 11 from 4pm to 7pm we are going to protest (peacefully) on the lawn
and ask the govenor to veto SB423 this is our last chance before it goes
into law !”

Friday, May 13th, Bozeman:
“Prescription drug companies are threatened by the medical marijuana
industry so are funding some of our politicians to essentially bribe
them into rejecting medical marijuana laws, all in an effort to keep
their excessive profits.”

Friday, May 13th, Missoula:
Come out for this FREE event filled with information with regards to
SB-423 – Legal Action – Referendum. First hour is set aside for
networking with each other (NOW is the time to get to know & work with
each other). Guest Speakers to include Senator Dave Wanzenried &
introduction of the MCIA (Montana Cannabis Industry Assn.) board.
For vendor spot information, contact Ed Docter or visit asap!

Thanks for all each of you do to help.

John Masterson
Montana NORML – Working to reform marijuana laws in Montana since 1998.
Get Legislative Action Alerts:

Montana NORML could not exist without your support. Join us today:

Hello Friends and Fellow Medical Marijuana Supporters!

We are holding a public assembly this Friday, the 13th, to draw attention to the 300 people who die annually in Montana from prescription drug overdoses, most of them children.

Prescription drug companies are threatened by the medical marijuana industry so are funding some of our politicians to essentially bribe them into rejecting medical marijuana laws, all in an effort to keep their excessive profits.

We are asking everyone to please come to the assembly and bring as many friends as you can. If you are able to, we would like people to bring coffins to provide a visual for the people dying from these dangerous drugs. Most deaths related to prescription drugs are kids 18 and under so a variety of sizes will really show that. Coffins can be made out of any materials that you have. Here is a website for simple coffin building:

If you cannot attend, please donate whatever you can. We will have horse drawn carriages to pull the coffins and will need any donations to help fund those.

We will start in the KO’s parking lot (map direction link below) at 10 am and continue down Main Street in a progression of people, horse- drawn carriages and coffins. We will then assemble in the lawn of the Courthouse, with the coffins, and will have informative speakers. This will be a peaceful and quiet protest.

Please join us!

We would really appreciate a R.S.V.P. so that we can prepare for the turnout.

Hope to see you all there!

Also, we encourage all of you to check out this website: Please make any donation that you can to support the fight against SB 423. Get Involved!!

KO’s Directions:

UPDATE: 5-2-2011 SB423! Provided by John Masterson, Montana NORML


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: (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!

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:

1. Veto

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:

Click here:

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: 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 me know so I can help coordinate the various efforts into one which is strategically and legally sound. I want to connect the experts into a team, so we can win.

3. Signatures

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 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.


John Masterson
Montana NORML – Working to reform marijuana laws in Montana.

Donate to Cannabis Research at Montana Biotech

Montana — Calling the newly passed bill overhauling the state’s medical marijuana lawunconstitutional on its face,” Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Wednesday that he wants to issue an amendatory veto to fix the parts he considers legally defective.

“I’d like to amend it, that’s what I would like to do, and we’ll see what it looks like when it gets here,” Schweitzer said. “The bill as written is not going to survive the courts.”

His comments came after the Senate approved Senate Bill 423, by Sen. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, by 33-17. The House approved it 70-30. SB423 now will be sent to Schweitzer, who earlier vetoed House Bill 161, by Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade, that would have repealed the 2004 voter-passed medical marijuana law.

Montana voters approved a 2004 ballot initiative by 62 percent to 38 percent to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Montana now has nearly 30,000 medical marijuana users. Many patients are supplied by large-scale growing operations with storefronts, and some were registered en masse by traveling cannabis caravans, where doctors prescribed the drug to hundreds of patients after brief screenings.

SB423 prohibits any sale of marijuana by asking for the drug to be given to patients free of charge, on compassionate grounds. It severely limits the number of people growers can provide to, from unlimited to just three.

Doctors would be required to establish lasting relationships with patients before prescribing use and would be put under supervision if they suggest the treatment to more than 15 patients a year.

Applicants who claim to have chronic pain would have to present objective proof, such as an X-ray, or a second doctor’s opinion confirming that person’s condition.

Schweitzer criticized the House for tabling in committee House Bill 68, by Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula. The bill was proposed by a bipartisan interim committee after much study and many hearings last year.

“They threw that in the garbage and now they’re going to send me this (SB) 423, which everybody’s who’s read it says, ‘Oh yeah, it’s unconstitutional,’ ” he said. Schweitzer said he doesn’t believe the bill will survive a legal challenge. “I’m kind of disgusted right now,” he said.

If Schweitzer receives the bill before lawmakers adjourn, possibly Thursday, he can make an amendatory veto suggesting changes to the bill that the House and Senate would vote on.

If he gets the bill after they leave, Schweitzer has three choices: sign it into law, veto it or let it become law without his signature.

Schweitzer said he hopes he has a chance to suggest changes to SB423.

“Unfortunately, if they don’t allow us to get our amendments up to them, it’s likely to not survive legal challenges,” he said. “It seems to us unconstitutional on its face.”

Essmann said later that he received a series of amendments from Schweitzer’s staff that the governor wants to make to SB423. He said he agreed with House leaders to review the suggested amendments together and decide what they want to do.

Essmann said all three branches of government get to offer their opinions on the constitutionality of legislation.

Schweitzer questioned the provision that says that if people receive medical marijuana cards, they must have them on their possession at all times, regardless of whether they have marijuana on them. In addition, cardholders’ names and addresses are provided to local law enforcement officials, who have the right to search their homes at any time.

That violates your constitutional rights (against) illegal search,” he said.

Essmann defended this provision, saying it’s similar to implied consent in driving while intoxicated laws in which people suspected of drunken driving are asked to blow into a breath machine.

If patients are growing their own medical marijuana, Essmann said, “I don’t think law enforcement is going to be coming in in the middle of the night.”

Schweitzer also said he believes the bill violates the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA.

“If you’re taking oxycontin or penicillin or, for God’s sake, even aspirin, that is your own personal health care records,” he said. But HB423 is “demanding” that the fact that someone is using medical marijuana and “be turned over to law enforcement in every town.”

“There’s another problem with it, and I think it’s a fundamental problem,” Schweitzer said. “Under this bill, I will guar-an-dang-tee you that there will be more illegal marijuana (that) makes it to the alley under this proposal than we currently have because now you’re going to have 4,000, 5,000, 6,000 people growing their own. It’s not possible to monitor all of them.”

Schweitzer said the bill would be better off allowing a few centralized growers that are “heavily regulated and heavily taxed, bonded and insured, so that none of this stuff makes it to the illegal chains.”

“I mean, does someone with a straight face think you can have 5,000 people growing their own and none of it makes it to high schools or to college dorm rooms?” he said.

Essmann, however, said a new letter from the U.S. attorney for Colorado makes it clear that the U.S. Justice Department has legal problems with states using centralized marijuana growing operations. He said the Senate had proposed larger growing operations, but the House opposed the idea.

Schweitzer criticized the Legislature for managing to “squander away” most of the 90-day legislative session before sending him the bill. He said lawmakers already know it’s unconstitutional, which is why they put a “severability clause” in it saying if a court strikes down part of the bill, the rest stands. Severability clauses are common in complex bills.

“Why don’t you just pass something that works, that’s constitutional and that can survive the test of time?” he asked.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)
Author: Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau
Published: April 27, 2011
Copyright: 2011 The Billings Gazette

CannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives

Action Alert: Please Veto or Transform SB 423 from conference committee

SB 423 would stick Montana with the very worst “medical marijuana” law in the country.  It represents “repeal in disguise,” and is filled with arbitrary and extreme requirements intended to make it virtually impossible for patients with chronic pain to become legal – and to make it extremely unlikely that any patient will have reasonably reliable and consistent access to medical-grade cannabis.  Any physician making more than 15 recommendations within a year gets investigated, and pays for the investigation.  Chronic pain patients need two different physicians to do a complete exam unless they have “proof” of the “etiology” of their pain.  No one can grow for more than three patients, and people can’t grow cooperatively or efficiently.  You grow either for infused (non-smokeable) products only, or for “bud” – not both.  All growing and production must be “free.”  Labs for quality control are essentially banned.

Contact Governor Schweitzer and tell him that this bill, as is, is unworkable!

 SB 423 is literally designed to fail patients – not to work as voters intended.

In your own words, please urge the Governor to Vote NO on the HB 423 “free conference committee report.”  Explain why provisions like these do NOT fulfill voter intent, to make it possible for patients to use cannabis responsibly as medicine.  A recent poll by Mason-Dixon found that 87% of Montana voters want either no change or regulatory reform of the medical marijuana law – they DON’T want “repeal in disguise.”



2 thoughts on “SB423 UPDATE: Governor Schweitzer, MMJ Bill is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! Montana NORML Action Alert: Please Veto SB 423

  1. Yes this is a frightening bill.. I am not a card holder nor will I ever get one but for the people who need it, this is going to be unfair. My father who just now got his pain under control and is able to walk again without being in extreme pain. Now has to grow his own or find someone who will give it to him… Its like any other medication you need to pay for it. You also need people out there that can grow it the right way. There is more to this bill then trying to keep it under control. People in MONTANA know what they want and will vote for what is right.. Why don’t you keep it in the hands of the people. Instead of making bill that will make it hard for the ones who need it.. I am looking at this as a unfair bill. Something that will hurt the ones that really need it, as well the people who grow it and all the businesses that are going to go under aka close their doors.. Also look at the number of people that are going to be out of work again.. Look at all the positives in it and not the fact that 30,000 people in the state has a card.. There are other bills you can pass without hurting all the people who really need it and the business owners… People are finally getting back on their feet and now another bill.. I understand you that you need to do something but this is not the right way to do it.. I hope you read this and understand the pain that I have seen from my own father. For once I see him laugh and doing things he hasn’t done in years and feel as if your taking him away from me again.. The pain is going to come back and his medications are going to go up the cost will too. I am asking for you to take another look at this and understand the pain that will happen if this bill is truly passed. Please!!

  2. He has a valid point when he says they squandered the 90 days on this garbage can of a bill. I watched some of the videos of these guys making this bill and it was obvious that none of them knew anything about marijuana and/or cared for it. They were actually more concerned with themselves being held liable under federal law. Even more so I dont think any of them believe it actually has any medicinal benefits. There was really no proponents on the committee that made this bill only opponents. So getting a fair bill was never going to happen. I pray that Mike Milburn is never to hold an office in this state again.

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