Medical Marijuana Advocates Raise Almost $50k To Hire Attorney

MISSOULA, Mont. — Medical marijuana backers raised nearly $40,000 in two days to fight the reform bill.

Governor Schweitzer’s said he doesn’t like the measure, but won’t do anything to stop it.

An urgent plea hit cyber space Wednesday afternoon, asking for help raising $50,000 to fight new medical marijuana legislation.

“People really want to make sure this is stopped,” Nathan Pierce with the Montana Cannabis Industry Association said. “The legislature had it wrong.”

The legislature pushed SB 423 forward to take the profit out of medical marijuana, cap the number of cardholders and better regulate an industry many thought was out of control.

The goal of MCIA is twofold: to delay the bill from making law and kill it entirely. They claim constitutional issues with the bill, including a ban on advertising.

“The Supreme Court ruled that any ban on advertising was unconstitutional,” Pierce said.

The MCIA wants to hire Bozeman lawyer James Goetz, who they call a “big gun.” Goetz has worked on cases about same sex protections and stream access laws. He wants a $50,000 retainer to take on the case. That had medical marijuana advocates across the state scrambling for every penny.

“We’re really content by the end of the day that we should have all those funds in place, if not more than we need,” Pierce said.

Governor Brian Schweitzer’s office didn’t have a comment on the legal action. An e-mail from the Attorney General’s office said, “We cannot comment on a hypothetical lawsuit challenging legislation that isn’t even law yet.”

Pierce says they can’t waste time waiting for 423 to become law before moving forward.

“This is going to cost jobs throughout the state of Montana,” he said. “We can’t just wait for something to happen.”

Goetz told NBC Montana it’s not a matter of if, but rather when he’ll take the case. Until then, he’s not commenting, but he did tell us he sees several problems with the new medical marijuana reform bill.