Senate Bill 423, passed by the 2011 Legislature, repealed Montana's voter-passed Medical Marijuana Act on July 1, 2011, and replaced it with new requirements for the cultivation, manufacture, and possession of marijuana for use by people with debilitating medical conditions.
SB 423 also required the Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee to monitor the new law and to draft legislation if members decide changes to the law are needed. Committee members regularly monitored statistics related to the program and other developments related to the law.
Several portions of SB 423 were enjoined from June 2011 through August 2016 while a legal challenge was pending.
On Feb. 25, 2016, the Montana Supreme Court upheld all of the challenged portions of the law except the ban on compensation for marijuana providers or marijuana-infused products providers. The plaintiffs subsequently filed a petition for rehearing, asking the court to delay the effective date of the decision until after the 2017 Legislature meets and has time to consider changes to the law. The court declined to wait until after the next session, instead establishing an effective date of Aug. 31, 2016.
A subsequent appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, as was a motion asking the Helena District Court to delay implementation until after the November election. Initiative 182 qualified for the November ballot and would change some of the provisions the Supreme Court upheld, including removing the limit on the number of patients for whom a provider may grow marijuana or provide infused products.