GUEST POST: Montana’s Battle for Medical Marijuana

by Kayla G.

Montana has had a tumultuous relationship with marijuana in recent years. In 2004, use of medical marijuana was legalized in the state only to have a large portion of those laws rolled back in 2011. More recently, petitioners have rallied to expand the availability of medical marijuana in the state only to be met with more resistance.

Currently, restrictive laws prevent Montana’s medical marijuana providers from offering the medicine to more than 3 people each. This greatly limits the number of patients in the state that can gain access to medical marijuana and, to the more than 30,000 people who signed a petition to abolish this restriction, it seems downright ridiculous. If this restriction is enforced as it is scheduled to be starting this August, more than 12,000 patients will lose their access to medical marijuana. This matter was taken to the Supreme Court to be overturned, but Monday they refused to hear the appeal, letting stand the 2011 restrictions designed to suffocate the medical marijuana industry in Montana.

Now medical marijuana advocates have one hope for relief left in the form of I-182. The proposed initiative, which has garnered the same amount of signatures in 60 days that it took the opposing initiative 8 months to gather, seeks to expand the availability of medical marijuana throughout the state, impose reasonable regulations for dispensaries, and allow easy access to medical marijuana for the people who really need it.

An opposing initiative is also circulating that would overturn the citizens’ initiative of 2004 and prohibit medical marijuana entirely. If both initiatives collect enough signatures, they could both appear on the ballot this November. This would be unprecedented and officials say they have no idea how to proceed if too competing initiatives are both approved by voters. It would be a very interesting and confusing time to say the least.

But professional polls seem to show that the will of the people leans more toward expanding access to medical marijuana rather than eliminating it entirely, so it’s unlikely that both initiatives will be passed. I-182 would certainly make the medical marijuana industry in Montana safer, more accessible, more regulated, and more profitable while the opposing initiative, I-176 would serve only to punish sick people undergoing things like cancer treatment and hospice care that we should be protecting.

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13 Comments on "GUEST POST: Montana’s Battle for Medical Marijuana"

  1. Thank you Jeff Assmann and Steve Zabawa for throwing thousands of your fellow Montana citizens under the bus. I am sure the next seizure patient, terminal cancer patient or PTSD patient is enthralled with your denying access to this remarkable plant. Did the $40,000.00 tax break given to the used car salesman by Yellowstone County Commissioners seed his petition drive? It is a sad situation that the Montana Supreme Court has seemed to echo the sentiments of these two fine upstanding Montana assholes-a has been lawyer/former dry cleaner owner and a used car salesman connected with the Mormon Church. Montana was the last best place.

  2. Sandra Sutherland | July 5, 2016 10:57 PM at 10:57 PM |

    Restricting individual choice regarding marijuana seems infantile when compared to items like chew, cigarettes, and alcohol that are freely available. Anyone who still believes the old propaganda about its evils must be ignorant of current knowledge about its use, especially concerning its benefits. It should be available on demand.

  3. What’s really infuriating is that this interference is just one more irritation stacking up and making me want to leave Montana for good. Californicators and Texicans have driven home prices up so if we sell we can afford to buy a pretty nice place over in Washington or Oregon, where they treat their citizens like they have rights or something. But the thought of letting these damn mormons drive me out just gets my back up-it’s a genuine conundrum. This election will be pretty important in that respect. Old FBI guy confirmed my suspicions though-there’s a vast left-wing conspiracy that involves seriously important people including elected officials, even as high as the Oval Office and the Supreme Court! They are intent on destroying Congressional disfunction and enacting all kinds of horrid laws, like raising the minimum wage and eliminating the scourge of student debt, emptying prisons and bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows into the regulated market, raising taxes on the wealthy and making corporations actually pay taxes on their profits rather than hiding them offshore, providing medical care and protecting a family’s right to reproductive planning and everybody’s Right to choose what to do with their own body. Robotics had more to do with job losses in manufacturing than moving plants so they want to train us to design and build the robots that build the cars, fossil fuels are killing our planet so rather than killing it faster for the sake of a few coal jobs they want to train those workers to make and install solar and wind energy systems, develop mini-hydro and geothermal distributed-generation “smart” grids. These crazy commies are determined to make America and the World a better place, just to make the Republicans in Kansas, Louisiana and Wisconsin look incompetent. Pinko pricks!

  4. It’s funny how those who are always pushing for more state sovereignty are now saying the feds should overrule state laws when it comes to medical marijuana.

  5. Jeff Essmann, Steve Zabawa and the rest of the MTGOP need to stop telling people how to live their lives. Today’s MTGOP have become Fascists who do not believe in personal freedom and liberty at all. The fact is that the MTGOP wants the government to control every aspect of our lives. The only “freedom” the MTGOP fights for is the freedom for corporations to rape our state like they did 100 years ago.

  6. This is crazy the mix of religion and state should not be in this factor. The Mormons are no better then any one else maybe it’s because fact they have more issues with pill pushers in their church. They sweep it under the rug but it’s there. Utah itself is taking drug money in thier churches and they want to control by saying f you to something less addictive no side effects. Maybe they got dibs in pharmaceutical company to watch more people kill themselves or be killed I think they should be guinea pigs and go under the side effects what takes to come off pharmaceuticals and see how they feel they right to take over the rights of state. Who they really thinking about because it isn’t their religion it’s thier pockets.

  7. This is crazy the mix of religion and state should not be in this factor. The Mormons are no better then any one else maybe it’s because fact they have more issues with pill pushers in their church. They sweep it under the rug but it’s there. Utah itself is taking drug money in thier churches and they want to control by saying f you to something less addictive no side effects. Maybe they got dibs in pharmaceutical company to watch more people kill themselves or be killed I think they should be guinea pigs and go under the side effects what takes to come off pharmaceuticals and see how they feel they have no right to take over the rights of state. Who are they really thinking about because it isn’t their religion it’s thier pockets.

  8. People in Montana didn’t used to lie easily.
    Why call it medicine? It’s just pot. People want to get high, that’s ok. Better than booze if one were to compare.

  9. Elect people that will legalize marijuana – its not rocket science, use the Colorado model. Recreational for purchase, medical for purchase, & the ability to grow your own when you can’t afford the market price. Colorado sold $996 million in 2015, over $100 million in taxes was designated for schools. This is a no brainer. ELECT people that will legalize Marijuana.

  10. It’s all about individual choice. The only political party being consistent is the Libertarians, who profess individual liberty and freedom without infringing on your neighbor’s rights. We need more of these folks in the Legislature.

  11. I have seen over 2,000 patients for Cannabis recommendations.
    80% of these patients are off opiates and other more toxic meds.
    AG Fox and Car Dealer Steve are spreading fear and misinformation.
    Why?
    FTM.
    Mmj cause no harm.
    The patients have all benefitted.
    What’s not to love about it?
    It’s a Hippocratic thing.

  12. Matthew Campbell | July 15, 2016 2:54 PM at 2:54 PM |

    Perhaps it is te prescription drug companies behind the opposition to a plant based painkiller…as doctors and patients who excercise their freedom of choice in states where their freedom is recognized and upheld…are using less opiates for pain relievers. “The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that states that implemented medical marijuana laws saw a reduction in average opioid analgesic overdoses and deaths, both from prescription painkillers and illicit drugs like heroin. Their study went as far back as 1999, when only three states had legalized medical marijuana. In all, states with medical marijuana laws had a 24.8 percent lower average of annual overdose death rates when compared to states that hadn’t legalized the drug.” http://www.medicaldaily.com/states-medical-marijuana-laws-see-fewer-opioid-overdose-deaths-potential-health-benefits-299634

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