Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State, No. DA 11–0460.

Docket NºNo. DA 11–0460.
Citation286 P.3d 1161, 366 Mont. 224, 2012 MT 201
Case DateOctober 23, 2012

366 Mont. 224
286 P.3d 1161
2012 MT 201

MONTANA CANNABIS INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION, Mark Matthews, Shirley Hamp, Shelly Yeager, Jane Doe, John Doe # 1, John Doe # 2, Michael Geci–Black, M.D., 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 11–0460.

Supreme Court of Montana.

Argued and Submitted May 30, 2012.
Decided Sept. 11, 2012.

Rehearing Denied Oct. 23, 2012.


[286 P.3d 1163]


For Appellant: Steve Bullock, Montana Attorney General; James P. Molloy (argued), J. Stuart Segrest, Assistant Attorneys General, Helena, Montana.

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


Justice MICHAEL E. WHEAT delivered the Opinion of the Court.

[366 Mont. 225]¶ 1 The State of Montana (“State”) appeals from an order preliminarily enjoining parts of the Montana Marijuana Act, § 50–46–301 et seq., MCA. Montana Cannabis Industry Association, Mark Matthews, Shirley Hamp, Shelly Yeager, Jane Doe, John Doe # 1, John Doe # 2, Michael Geci–Black, John Stowers, Point Hatfield, and Charlie Hamp (collectively “the Plaintiffs”) cross-appeal from the same order. We reverse and remand.

[366 Mont. 226]BACKGROUND

¶ 2 In 2004, Montana voters approved the use of medical marijuana through the passage of I–148, the Medical Marijuana Act. The 2004 Medical Marijuana Act left in place those provisions in the Montana criminal code that make it illegal to cultivate, possess, distribute or use marijuana, while simultaneously protecting authorized users of medical marijuana from being prosecuted. Section 50–46–201(1), MCA (2009) (repealed 2011). In 2011, the Montana Legislature, in response to a drastic increase of caregivers and medical marijuana users, passed House Bill 161, which repealed I–148. The Governor vetoed House Bill 161, and in response, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 423, which repealed the 2004 Medical Marijuana Act and replaced it with the Montana Marijuana Act (“MMA”), § 50–46–301 et seq., MCA, which dramatically changed the landscape for the cultivation, distribution, and use of marijuana for medical purposes.

¶ 3 On May 13, 2011, the Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit seeking to both temporarily and permanently enjoin the implementation of the MMA in its entirety. Based on a motion filed with the complaint, the District Court immediately entered a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of § 50–46–341, MCA, which prohibited the advertising of “marijuana or marijuana-related products” and which was scheduled to take effect that day. By stipulation, the temporary restraining order remained in effect pending the preliminary injunction hearing. A hearing on the preliminary injunction was held June 20 through 22, 2011.

¶ 4 On June 30, 2011, the District Court issued its Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction. In its Order, the District Court enjoined the following relevant subsections of § 50–46–308, MCA:

(3)(a)(i) A provider or marijuana-infused products provider may assist a maximum of three registered cardholders.

(ii) A person who is registered as both a provider and a marijuana-infused products provider may assist no more than three registered cardholders.

(b) If the provider or marijuana-infused products provider is a registered cardholder, the provider or marijuana-infused products provider may assist a maximum of two registered cardholders other than the provider or marijuana-infused products provider.

(4) A provider or marijuana-infused products provider may accept reimbursement from a cardholder only for the provider's application or renewal fee for a registry identification card issued under this section.

...

[366 Mont. 227](6) A provider or marijuana-infused products provider may not:

(a) accept anything of value, including monetary remuneration, for any services

[286 P.3d 1164]

or products provided to a registered cardholder;

(b) buy or sell mature marijuana plants, seedlings, cuttings, clones, usable marijuana, or marijuana-infused products[.]

¶ 5 The District Court preliminarily enjoined a number of sections of the MMA; however, only §§ 50–46–308(3), (4), (6)(a) and (6)(b), MCA, are pertinent to this opinion. The District Court found that these sections substantially implicated the Plaintiffs' fundamental rights to pursue employment, to seek one's own health in all lawful ways, and to privacy. Because the sections substantially implicated the Plaintiffs' fundamental rights, the District Court applied a strict scrutiny analysis, and determined that the Plaintiffs would suffer irreparable harm if the court did not enjoin these provisions.

¶ 6 The District Court also enjoined §§ 50–46–341, –329(1)–(3), and –303(10), MCA, which are not at issue in this appeal. The remaining provisions of the MMA were not enjoined and, in accordance with the severability clause of the MMA, were allowed to take effect.

¶ 7 After the District Court issued its Order on the Motion for Preliminary Injunction, the State appealed and the Plaintiffs cross-appealed. We restate the issues on appeal as follows:

¶ 8 Issue One: Did the District Court err when it applied a strict scrutiny, fundamental rights analysis to preliminarily enjoin §§ 50–46–308(3), (4), (6)(a) and (6)(b), MCA?

¶ 9 Issue Two: Did the District Court err in not enjoining § 50–46–308(2), MCA?

¶ 10 Issue Three: Did the District Court err in not enjoining § 50–46–308(7), MCA?

¶ 11 Issue Four: Did the District Court err in declining to enjoin the MMA in its entirety?

STANDARD OF REVIEW

¶ 12 We typically review a district court's granting or denying a preliminary injunction for a manifest abuse of discretion. City of Great Falls v. Forbes, 2011 MT 12, ¶ 9, 359 Mont. 140, 247 P.3d 1086. However, where the district court grants or denies injunctive relief based on conclusions of law, no discretion is involved, and we review the conclusions of law to determine whether they are correct. Valley Christian Sch. v. Mont. High Sch. Assn., 2004 MT 41, ¶ 5, 320 Mont. 81, 86 P.3d 554 (citing [366 Mont. 228]Hagener v. Wallace, 2002 MT 109, ¶ 12, 309 Mont. 473, 47 P.3d 847).

DISCUSSION

¶ 13 As a threshold issue, Plaintiffs argue that the State's appeal of only one of four paragraphs, ¶ 1(d),1 of the District Court's preliminary injunction order, while reserving other defenses, is an improper request for an interlocutory advisory opinion. We may, however, review “an order granting or dissolving, or refusing to grant or dissolve, an injunction or an attachment.” M.R.App. P. 6(3)(e). This rule allows an immediate appeal from a preliminary injunction. State v. BNSF Ry. Co., 2011 MT 108, ¶ 15, 360 Mont. 361, 254 P.3d 561. A party is not obligated to appeal the entire preliminary injunction, but instead, may ask this Court to separately review specific provisions within an order granting an injunction. See e.g. St. James Healthcare v. Cole, 2008 MT 44, ¶ 54, 341 Mont. 368, 178 P.3d 696. Moreover, in our review of a preliminary injunction, we may review whether the district court applied the proper level of judicial scrutiny to enjoin an allegedly unconstitutional statute. See Butte Community Union v. Lewis, 219 Mont. 426, 430–31, 712 P.2d 1309, 1311–12 (1986). Accordingly, we will review the State's appeal of ¶ 1(d) of the preliminary injunction order.

[286 P.3d 1165]

¶ 14 Section 27–19–201, MCA, authorizes the issuance of a preliminary injunction when it appears that the applicant is entitled to the relief sought; the commission of an act by a party would cause irreparable harm to the applicant; or the adverse party is doing something that threatens to violate the applicant's rights, respecting the subjects of the action. These requirements are in the disjunctive, meaning that findings that satisfy one subsection are sufficient. Sweet Grass Farms, Ltd. v. Bd. of County Commrs. of Sweet Grass County, 2000 MT 147, ¶ 27, 300 Mont. 66, 2 P.3d 825.

¶ 15 In granting the preliminary injunction in this case, the District Court limited its analysis to the question of irreparable injury. The court properly concluded that the loss of a constitutional right constitutes irreparable harm for the purpose of determining whether a [366 Mont. 229]preliminary injunction should be issued. Elrod v. Burns, 427 U.S. 347, 373, 96 S.Ct. 2673, 2689–690, 49 L.Ed.2d 547 (1976).

¶ 16 In order to determine if a constitutional right has been lost, a court must first determine which of the established levels of scrutiny is appropriately applied: strict scrutiny, middle-tier scrutiny or the rational basis test. See Snetsinger v. Mont. Univ. Sys., 2004 MT 390, ¶ 17, 325 Mont. 148, 104 P.3d 445. Legislation that implicates a fundamental constitutional right is evaluated under a strict scrutiny standard, whereby the government must show that the law is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest. Snetsinger, ¶ 17. If a law or policy affects a right conferred by the Montana Constitution, but is not found in the Constitution's declaration of rights, we apply middle-tier scrutiny. Snetsinger, ¶ 18. If neither strict scrutiny nor middle-tier scrutiny apply, the rational basis test is appropriate. Pursuant to the rational basis test, the statute must be rationally related to a legitimate government interest. Snetsinger, ¶ 19.

¶ 17 Looking to these standards, the District Court determined that §§ 50–46–308(3), (4), 6(a) and 6(b), MCA, substantially implicate the fundamental rights to employment, to pursue one's own health, and to privacy. Accordingly, the District Court applied a strict scrutiny analysis and enjoined those sections. The State, on appeal, argues that the District Court improperly applied strict scrutiny, and instead, should have applied the rational basis test. The Plaintiffs argue that the District Court correctly applied strict scrutiny, and implicitly concede that if strict scrutiny does not apply, the appropriate level of scrutiny...

To continue reading

Request your trial
15 practice notes
  • Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State, No. DA 15–0055.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • February 25, 2016
    ...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 i......
  • Driscoll v. Stapleton, DA 20-0295
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • September 29, 2020
    ...injunction, the loss of a constitutional right constitutes an irreparable injury. See Montana Cannabis Industry Ass'n v. State , 366 Mont. 224, ¶ 15, 286 P.3d 1161 (2012). ¶16 A statute enjoys a presumption of constitutionality. See City of Billings v. Cty. Water Dist. , 281 Mont. 219, 227,......
  • Davis v. Westphal, DA 17-0003
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • November 8, 2017
    ...6(3)(e) thus allows immediate appeal of an order granting or denying a preliminary injunction. Montana Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State, 2012 MT 201, ¶ 13, 366 Mont. 224, 286 P.3d 1161. Because Davises' appeal irreconcilably conflates relief available at law on a common law ejectment claim wi......
  • Weems v. State by and through Fox, DA 18-0308
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • April 26, 2019
    ...a statute infringes on a person’s ability to obtain a lawful medical procedure. Armstrong , ¶ 62 ; Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass’n v. State , 2012 MT 201, ¶ 27, 366 Mont. 224, 286 P.3d 1161. But not every restriction on medical care impermissibly infringes that right. Wiser v. State , 2006 MT 2......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State, No. DA 15–0055.
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • February 25, 2016
    ...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 i......
  • Driscoll v. Stapleton, DA 20-0295
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • September 29, 2020
    ...injunction, the loss of a constitutional right constitutes an irreparable injury. See Montana Cannabis Industry Ass'n v. State , 366 Mont. 224, ¶ 15, 286 P.3d 1161 (2012). ¶16 A statute enjoys a presumption of constitutionality. See City of Billings v. Cty. Water Dist. , 281 Mont. 219, 227,......
  • Davis v. Westphal, DA 17-0003
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • November 8, 2017
    ...6(3)(e) thus allows immediate appeal of an order granting or denying a preliminary injunction. Montana Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State, 2012 MT 201, ¶ 13, 366 Mont. 224, 286 P.3d 1161. Because Davises' appeal irreconcilably conflates relief available at law on a common law ejectment claim wi......
  • Planned Parenthood of Mont. v. State, DA 21-0521
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • August 8, 2022
    ...injunction, the loss of a constitutional right constitutes an irreparable injury." Driscoll, ¶ 15; Mont. Cannabis Indus. Ass'n v. State, 2012 MT 201, ¶ 15, 366 Mont. 224, 286 P.3d 1161. ¶7 The District Court granted Providers' preliminary injunction motion on two alternate grounds. It found......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT