Montana Legislature kills med marijuana law
In 2004, 64 percent of Montanans voted to legalize medical marijuana. Tuesday, the State Legislature voted to overrule the voters, passing a bill to treat medical users of marijuana the same as recreational users are treated–as criminals.
The bill has now passed both the House and the Senate.
Today, the bill sits on the desk of Governor Brian Schweitzer. His communications director has not yet returned a call for comment.
Jim Gingery, director of the Montana Medical Growers Association, told the Colorado Independent this morning that he was on his way to a meeting with Montana Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger. He said he hopes to convince Bohlinger and Schweitzer to establish a task force to study and recommend medical marijuana rules that could address some of the concerns of the Legislature without actually banning medical marijuana.
He said he is hopeful Schweitzer will veto the bill, which would go into effect July 1 if signed into law by Schweitzer.
State Senator and 2012 Gubernatorial candidate Dave Wanzenried has supported medical marijuana in the past but has also said he thinks the laws needs some revision.
From a letter he recently sent Gingery:
Does the law bring relief to many Montanans of every political persuasion and religious denomination from one end of our state to the other? YES, it does.
Does it need to be revised to ensure only those who suffer from chronic pain receive prescriptions for a limited time only after a bona fide examination and diagnosis? YES.
Does it need to include restrictions on where dispensaries can be located? YES.
Do we need to institute inventory controls between the producers and the caregivers/ users? YES.
Wanzenried, a Democrat, could not be reached for comment this morning.
Passage of legislation to repeal the state’s medical marijuana laws comes on the heels of a massive raid on medical marijuana businesses in the state.
Gingery told the Independent his organization is filing Freedom of Information requests in an effort to determine whether lawmakers knew about the raids in advance and what role, if any, they played in planning the raids.