In Misty Carey’s dispensary, she has cookies and brownies. She has hard candies and suckers. She offers lotions and salves. There are capsules and peanut butter cups.
All have one ingredient in common: marijuana.
“I make great stuff,” said Carey, owner of KannaKare Health Services in Bozeman.
Carey is one of several medical marijuana providers in Gallatin County, which has the most registered medical marijuana providers and cardholders in the state.
Since the Montana Legislature passed a bill in 2011 that eliminated a vast majority of cardholders and providers in the state, those in the medical marijuana industry say businesses are healthier and are trying to rebrand as a “cottage industry.”
“We want to be seen as tax-paying business owners,” Carey said.
In 2004, nearly 62 percent of Montana voters passed the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, which allowed for controlled production and use of medical marijuana.
During the 2011 Legislature, however, Senate Bill 423 was passed, repealing the citizens’ initiative and enacting a more stringent medical marijuana law that banned the sale of marijuana for profit, among other provisions.
The Montana Cannabis Industry Association, represented by Bozeman attorney James Goetz, followed quickly with a lawsuit, asking a judge to invalidate the law.
District Court Judge James Reynolds of Helena temporarily blocked some of the law’s most restrictive provisions and struck down portions of the law.
However, the Montana Supreme Court overturned Reynolds’ decision and the case was remanded back to Reynolds.
Both sides of the lawsuit have filed motions for summary judgment and are awaiting Reynolds’ decision.