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MTCIA hearing over, judge to decide on medical marijuana

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 13 2012 11:02:20 PM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Medical marijuana headed back to court Thursday afternoon, in a one-day hearing between the Montana Cannabis Industry Association and the State of Montana.

Many say this battle over state law may be the final one- and they're anxiously waiting to see what happens.

In court Thursday afternoon, a judge listened to both sides of the argument over whether or not strict new medical marijuana regulations should go into effect.

"It's great. It eases the pain, there's many different ways you can take it, it stimulates my appetite- which is critical" said medical marijuana patient Lori Burnam.

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MTCIA) called five witnesses to the stand, including Burnam.

Advocates want to block the sections of Senate Bill 423 that prevent providers from making back operational costs, and limit them to three patients each. Patients like Lori Burnam said those rules would unfairly cut their access.

The attorney general's office disagreed.

"Marijuana is not like other prescription drugs. There's not dosage control. There's not quality control" said Assistant Attorney General Stuart Segrest.

We monitored hearing updates on the MTCIA Facebook Page. In one post the, AG office said "We can decriminalize and change Montana law. This does not change federal law." And that "if the injunction is refused, there will still be an industry."

The judge said "what doesn't make sense is that the legislature has said this is only for the sickest, but then also said the sickest have to grow it themselves. That doesn't seem rational."

The state responded "this addresses the abuse."

"Would you like a copy your receipt?" said Kannakare employee Matt Saporito to a customer.

Saporito said the Bozeman medical marijuana business is on standby.

"Hopefully they realize that there is some good to the program" he said.

And, he said, their patients are waiting to see what happens too.

"We literally have to send emails every week, informing people of not only the legal situation but where we stand" Saporito said.

This week's email? Business as usual, until the judge makes a ruling.

MTCIA President Chris Lindsey told me on the phone after the hearing that the judge didn't make a decision on the matter Thursday, and extended a restraining order against those parts of the law in question until he makes a ruling.

Lindsey said he expects the judge to take somewhere between a few days and a few weeks to make a decision.