Two cases that have been much in the news are back in court this week.
One, the Indian trust case filed by Montana’s Elouise Cobell on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Indian people, has another hearing in Washington, D.C., today. Lorna Thackeray of the Billings Gazette outlines the issues:
On Monday morning, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., will begin hearing arguments on the fairness of a settlement agreement reached in a class-action lawsuit filed against the government by Indians who claim the Department of Interior mismanaged their trust accounts.
The proceeding before Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan is the final hurdle in implementing a $3.4 billion agreement worked out late last year between the government and plaintiffs in the 15-year-old lawsuit.
The settlement was approved by Congress and signed by the president. All that remains now is for the judge to determine if it is fair.
Meanwhile, in Helena, the Montana Cannabis Industry Association will be in District Court before Judge James Reynolds trying to stop the state’s new medical marijuana law from going into effect, the Associated Press reports:
A law passed by the 2011 Legislature and allowed to become law without Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s signature repealed Montana’s 2004 voter-passed law legalizing the use of marijuana for certain medical reasons.
The new law imposes new restrictions to make it much harder for people to qualify to legally use medical marijuana and adds tougher regulations.
It bans large medical pot growing operations and instead sets up a system where cardholders can grow their own medical pot, or obtain it from providers, but at no charge. Providers can grow for up to three people, including themselves.
More than 30,500 people now have medical marijuana cards in Montana. The law is supposed to go into effect July 1.