Earlier this week the Montana Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the legalization initiative. The court punted on the merits of the challenge and instead determined that it was not the proper venue for the challenge because it lacked jurisdiction. According to the opinion, WFM failed to demonstrate “urgency or emergency factors” justifying circumventing the traditional route through a trial court and appeals court before reaching the supreme court. The court stated that it “express[ed] no opinion on the merits of WFM’s constitutional challenge, or to its right to pursue this challenge in district court,” but the “claim does not present an appropriate basis on which to invoke this Court’s original jurisdiction.” This is certainly a win for cannabis proponents, but it sounds like this challenge is far from over. The attorney representing WFM stated that WFM now intends to pursue their claims in district court, although it has not settled on an exact timeline yet.

It should also be noted that even if WFM were successful in its challenge, that will not necessarily invalidate the entire initiative. It is possible that the Montanan courts could simply direct the funds be deposited into the state’s general fund and not allocated to the programs currently designated.

Montana is one of five states with cannabis related initiatives on its ballot, so November is yet again expected to be a big month for the industry. We will be following all of the election action and our blog will provide updates after election results are confirmed.