Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State, No. DA 15–0055.

Docket NºNo. DA 15–0055.
Citation2016 MT 44, 368 P.3d 1131, 382 Mont. 256
Case DateFebruary 25, 2016
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

382 Mont. 256
368 P.3d 1131
2016 MT 44

MONTANA CANNABIS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, Marc Matthews, Shelly Yeager, Jesse Rumble, John Stowers, M.D., Point Hatfield, and Charlie Hamp, Plaintiffs, Appellees, and Cross–Appellants,
v.
STATE of Montana, Defendant, Appellant, and Cross–Appellee.

No. DA 15–0055.

Supreme Court of Montana.

Argued and Submitted Nov. 4, 2015.
Decided Feb. 25, 2016.

Rehearing Denied April 25, 2016.


368 P.3d 1135

For Appellant: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General; J. Stuart Segrest (argued), Matthew T, Cochenour, Assistant Attorneys General, Helena, Montana.

For Appellees: James H. Goetz (argued), J. Devlan Geddes, Goetz, Baldwin & Geddes, P.C., Bozeman, Montana.

368 P.3d 1136

Justice BETH BAKER delivered the Opinion of the Court.

382 Mont. 258

¶ 1 The State of Montana (State) appeals an order of the First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County, granting a permanent injunction against the enforcement of certain provisions of the 2011 Montana Marijuana Act §§ 50–46–301 to –344, MCA (Act). Montana Cannabis Industry Association, Mark Matthews, Shelly Yeager, Jesse Rumble, John Stowers, M.D., Point Hatfield, and Charlie Hamp (collectively "Plaintiffs") cross-appeal the District Court's refusal to enjoin other provisions of the Act. We address the following issues on appeal:

1. Whether the District Court erred in determining that the Act's provision requiring the Department of Public Health and Human Services (Department) to notify the Board of Medical Examiners of any physician who certifies 25 or more patients in a year for medical marijuana (§ 50–46–303(10), MCA ) fails rational basis review.

2. Whether the District Court erred in determining that the Act's commercial prohibitions (§ 50–46–308(3), (4), (6)(a), (b), MCA ) fail rational basis review.

3. Whether the District Court erred in applying strict scrutiny review to the Act's provision prohibiting advertising by providers of medical marijuana (§ 50–46–341, MCA ), thereby concluding that the provision unconstitutionally infringes free speech.

4. Whether the District Court erred in determining that the Act's provision prohibiting probationers from becoming registered cardholders for medical marijuana use (§ 50–46–307(4), MCA ) withstands a facial challenge under rational basis scrutiny.

5. Whether the District Court erred in determining that the Act's provision allowing warrantless inspections of medical marijuana providers' businesses by the Department and law enforcement agencies (§ 50–46–329, MCA ) comports with the U.S. and Montana Constitutions' guarantees against unreasonable searches.

¶ 2 We affirm in part and reverse in part.

PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

¶ 3 This is the State's second appeal from the First Judicial District Court's injunctions preventing implementation of certain provisions of the Act. Montana Cannabis Industry Association v. State, 2012 MT 201, 366 Mont. 224, 286 P.3d 1161 (hereafter MCIA I ). The Act repealed the 2004 Medical Marijuana Act (2004 Act)—which was established by voter initiative (I–148)—and replaced it with a new statutory framework. The Act contains multiple provisions that limit

382 Mont. 259

both the eligibility of patients to qualify for its protections and the activities of medical professionals and providers of marijuana for medical purposes.

¶ 4 In the first case, the District Court preliminarily enjoined several of the Act's provisions, including: its ban on the commercial sale of medical marijuana; its ban on provider advertising; its authorization of warrantless inspections; and the 25–patient physician review trigger. In its first order, the court reasoned that those provisions implicated Plaintiffs' fundamental constitutional rights, triggering strict scrutiny analysis. The State agreed to a preliminary injunction against several of the challenged provisions pending consideration of the constitutional merits, but appealed the injunction against the commercial ban on the ground that the District Court erred in applying strict scrutiny analysis to the provisions in the absence of an infringement on fundamental rights.

¶ 5 In MCIA I, we determined that the commercial ban did not implicate the fundamental rights to employment, to health, or to privacy, and that Plaintiffs had no fundamental right to medical marijuana. Accordingly, we reversed and remanded the case to the District Court to apply rational basis scrutiny. MCIA I, ¶ 35.

¶ 6 Following remand, Plaintiffs moved the District Court for a Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction and Order to Show Cause. On October 26, 2012, the District Court granted a Temporary Restraining Order and set a Preliminary Injunction

368 P.3d 1137

Hearing.1 At that hearing, Plaintiffs presented testimony from several witnesses to support their contention that many medical marijuana users and providers would suffer irreparable harm if certain provisions of the Act did not remain preliminarily enjoined. Several witnesses who suffered from debilitating medical conditions testified that they had very negative experiences with prescription drugs and that medical marijuana was the only treatment that provided them effective relief from their conditions. Providers of medical marijuana testified that without the injunction, it would not be feasible for them to continue their medical marijuana businesses.

¶ 7 The State urged the District Court to deny the preliminary injunction and to extend the temporary restraining order for a period to allow the Legislature to consider further amendments to the Act. To

382 Mont. 260

support its argument, the State referenced several abuses that occurred under the 2004 Act and that were discussed during the June 2011 preliminary injunction hearing. The State referenced telemedicine (the practice of some physicians to certify patients without ever actually seeing the patient), traveling caravans, and a disproportionate number of medical marijuana users in the "chronic pain category" who falsified or exaggerated their need for medical marijuana. The State also emphasized that one-third of medical marijuana users were growing their own supply at that time.

¶ 8 Following the hearing, on January 16, 2013, the court issued an order maintaining its preliminary injunction against the Act's commercial prohibitions. The court concluded that "[p]roperly registered and eligible cardholders will be injured or irreparably harmed if the Court does not preserve the status quo ... [because] cardholders will be unable to grow their own medical marijuana or will be unable to obtain it from a provider." Thereafter, the parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The District Court heard oral argument on the summary judgment motions on April 15, 2014.

¶ 9 On January 6, 2015, the District Court issued a Corrected Order on Motions for Summary Judgment. In its decision, the court reviewed the commercial ban and the 25–patient review trigger for a rational basis, and concluded that both provisions were invalid. The court applied strict scrutiny to the advertising prohibition, and enjoined it on the basis that the prohibition impermissibly restricted content-based political and educational speech. The District Court declined to enjoin the warrantless inspection provision and the ban on access to medical marijuana by probationers. The court entered its final judgment on January 8, 2015.

¶ 10 The State appeals the injunctions against the commercial ban, the 25–patient physician review trigger, and the advertising ban. Plaintiffs cross-appeal the District Court's decision to uphold the warrantless inspection provision and the ban on probationer use. This Court heard oral argument on November 4, 2015.

STANDARDS OF REVIEW

¶ 11 We review summary judgment rulings de novo, applying the criteria set forth in M.R. Civ. P. 56. Walters v. Flathead Concrete Prods., 2011 MT 45, ¶ 8, 359 Mont. 346, 249 P.3d 913. Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Walters, ¶ 8. If there are no genuine issues of material fact, we review for correctness a district court's conclusion that the moving party is

382 Mont. 261

entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Zinvest, LLC v. Hudgins, 2014 MT 201, ¶ 11, 376 Mont. 72, 330 P.3d 1135.

¶ 12 This Court exercises plenary review of constitutional issues. Big Sky Colony, Inc. v. Mont. Dep't of Labor and Indus., 2012 MT 320, ¶ 16, 368 Mont. 66, 291 P.3d 1231 (citation omitted). The constitutionality of a statute is presumed, "unless it conflicts with the constitution, in the judgment of the court, beyond a reasonable doubt." Powell v. State Comp. Fund., 2000 MT 321, ¶...

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34 practice notes
  • State v. Staker, DA 19-0731
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 22 Junio 2021
    ...strip searches of arrestees without particularized suspicion on jail intake for minor offenses); Montana Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State, 2016 MT 44, ¶ 81, 382 Mont. 256, 368 P.3d 1131 (no reasonable expectation of privacy re warrantless statutorily-authorized administrative regulatory searc......
  • Hensley v. Mont. State Fund, DA 19-0523
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 16 Diciembre 2020
    ..."must show ... that the law is unconstitutional in all of its applications") 477 P.3d 1073 (quoting Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass'n. v. State , 2016 MT 44, ¶ 14, 382 Mont. 256, 368 P.3d 1131 (" MCIA II ")); In re Marriage of K.E.V. , 267 Mont. 323, 336, 883 P.2d 1246, 1255 (1994) (Trieweiler, J......
  • State v. Staker, DA 19-0731
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 22 Junio 2021
    ...strip searches of arrestees without particularized suspicion on jail intake for minor offenses); Montana Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State , 2016 MT 44, ¶ 81, 382 Mont. 256, 368 P.3d 1131 (no reasonable expectation of privacy re warrantless statutorily-authorized administrative regulatory sear......
  • State v. Christensen, DA 18-0268
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 16 Septiembre 2020
    ...statute bears the burden of proof; if any doubt exists, it must be resolved in favor of the statute. Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State , 2016 MT 44, ¶ 12, 382 Mont. 256, 368 P.3d 1131. ¶14 A district court has broad discretion in determining whether evidence is relevant and admissible. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
33 cases
  • State v. Staker, DA 19-0731
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 22 Junio 2021
    ...strip searches of arrestees without particularized suspicion on jail intake for minor offenses); Montana Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State, 2016 MT 44, ¶ 81, 382 Mont. 256, 368 P.3d 1131 (no reasonable expectation of privacy re warrantless statutorily-authorized administrative regulatory searc......
  • Hensley v. Mont. State Fund, DA 19-0523
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 16 Diciembre 2020
    ..."must show ... that the law is unconstitutional in all of its applications") 477 P.3d 1073 (quoting Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass'n. v. State , 2016 MT 44, ¶ 14, 382 Mont. 256, 368 P.3d 1131 (" MCIA II ")); In re Marriage of K.E.V. , 267 Mont. 323, 336, 883 P.2d 1246, 1255 (1994) (Trieweiler, J......
  • State v. Staker, DA 19-0731
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 22 Junio 2021
    ...strip searches of arrestees without particularized suspicion on jail intake for minor offenses); Montana Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State , 2016 MT 44, ¶ 81, 382 Mont. 256, 368 P.3d 1131 (no reasonable expectation of privacy re warrantless statutorily-authorized administrative regulatory sear......
  • State v. Christensen, DA 18-0268
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • 16 Septiembre 2020
    ...statute bears the burden of proof; if any doubt exists, it must be resolved in favor of the statute. Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State , 2016 MT 44, ¶ 12, 382 Mont. 256, 368 P.3d 1131. ¶14 A district court has broad discretion in determining whether evidence is relevant and admissible. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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