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Montana Medical Marijuana Law Reform Outlined


Montana is getting closer to reforming their medical marijuana regulations. The Children, Families, Health and Human Services Interim Committee voted 7-1 Tuesday to have a bill drafted and prepared for introduction before the 2011 Legislature convenes in January.

All this is in response to the unexpected growth of medical marijuana users and businesses. A year ago, the state had fewer than 4,000 marijuana patients. Now, almost 23,000 people have a medical marijuana card.

The proposed bill supported by the committee outlines these provisions:

– Medical marijuana patients would have to be Montana residents. Current law contains no such requirement.

– Physicians certifying patients for marijuana use must meet a detailed “standard of care” that includes a physical examination, maintaining of patient records and monitoring response to the treatment.

– Patients seeking a medical marijuana card to treat “chronic pain” must get a recommendation from at least two physicians, not one. Nearly 70 percent of cardholders obtained a card after being diagnosed with chronic pain.

– Medical marijuana “caregivers,” who now can have an unlimited number of patients for whom they provide and grow marijuana, would be limited to five patients and reclassified as “providers.”

– New categories of marijuana “dispensaries” and “growers” would be created, must be licensed by the state and could grow marijuana tied to specific patients who sign up with a dispensary or provider. The businesses would provide quarterly reports on their amount of customers and marijuana grown and distributed.

– Licensed providers, growers and dispensaries would have to undergo a fingerprinting and background check by state officials. Convicted felons could not get a license, and people on parole or probation with the Department of Corrections could not get a medical marijuana card.

– The Department of Revenue would handle licensing of growers, dispensaries and providers.

– Smoking medical marijuana in “plain view of or in a place open to the general public” would be prohibited.

– Counties and cities would be allowed to use zoning regulations to restrict, but not prohibit, marijuana businesses.

This is just the start of a long legislative process, but we here at The Weed Blog will be sure to keep you posted on updates as they become available.


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Johnny Green


  1. i am currently on parole in the state of Montana and have my card. I understand them not wanting to have people on parole have a card. but that violates my rights i thought, it is not fari to say you cant have one but make us go through a longer process and have a department of corrections doctor review the cases or something. but to say we CANT is not fair. there was alot of people who went and got there cards because it was so easy, well what happens to the people who are on parole that actually benefit from medical marijuana.

  2. I wrote a letter to the legislative committee in Montana regarding the revision which will prohibit a person on parole or probation from access to medical marijuana.

    To the Legislative Committee:

    Re: Draft LCMM01, page eleven, (5) A person may not be a registered cardholder if the person is under the supervision of the department of corrections or a youth court.

    I appreciate the hard work of the Legislative Committee and the efforts they are putting forth regarding revisions of the medical marijuana laws, and I am sure this is not an easy job.

    I am concerned about one of the marijuana law revisions presently being formulated. The proposed revision concerning me is item number five, on page eleven of the unofficial draft copy, LCMM01, which denies allowance to be a cardholder for medical marijuana for those who are under supervision of the department of corrections.

    It is clear that the state of Montana voters recognize that marijuana prescribed by a physician, is an effective medication for multiple illnesses. It is clear the committee also recognizes the same in most of it’s drafted copy of revisions, until it gets to page eleven, revision five as it applies to people on probation– At this point, the implied definition of marijuana changes instantly from being considered an effective medication, to a recreational drug such as alcohol. This clause, if passed into law is damaging toward those serving probation who are physically ill.

    It is wrong this natural medicine, which has helped many people more than any pharmaceutical drugs have, could be taken from them, due to the fact they are serving probation time. Many people on probation have made errors for which they are remorseful, and will not do again.

    It is my belief that a person who has made a mistake, who is actively making amends and who has paid back to society many times over for his or her offense, should at some point in time be forgiven by that society. Under no circumstances, or at any time, should a person on probation be denied medical treatment or any form of prescription written from a medical doctor.

    I feel that revision number five on page eleven of the draft completely dismisses and ignores the fact that these people who are under D.O.C. supervision are human beings who suffer every bit as much from their severe illnesses, as any ill person who is not under D.O.C. supervision.

    The scope of the effects of revision number five on page eleven is large upon human lives in the state of Montana, because it establishes a precedent that a doctor prescribed medication which aids in the health and pain relief of someone ill, can be withheld from selected groups of citizens.

    I am a Montanan from birth, and I am upset that Montana would even consider denying the right to purchase effective medical treatment to any one.

    Society, and especially the D.O.C., often talk about the benefits of rehabilitation of those who have broken a law. However, there is no better way to convey the underlying belief that a person who has broken a law is somehow “less than human”, than to deny him a medication prescribed for his illness. Can a society rehabilitate people to full human functioning status, while treating them as less than human?

    My son is very ill with a painful disease, and is a kind human being who (like many others who have been convicted), has learned how devastating the results of getting into the wrong crowd or getting into trouble can be. As a result, he determined to never make that mistake again. He became a medical patient last year, due to the fact a doctor prescribed medical marijuana for him. This medicinal herb has given him more pain relief by far than any of the expensive mind and liver damaging chemical and pharmaceutical drugs his physicians throughout the years had him use. My son’s physical, mental and emotional state has improved drastically during this past year of his life, using a God-made herb called marijuana for his illness, rather than man-made pharmaceutical drugs. Despite his severe diabetes, neuropathy, and seizure related disorders, he is doing so much better now, health wise, than before. He has felt much better and has completed nearly all of his community service hours this year. He has also paid every fine payment and restitution payment on time successfully, while continuing to obey every law and every requirement of his probation officer and the state, and has stayed completely out of any form of trouble.

    Many ill people who were placed on prescription pharmaceutical chemically based medications were suffering the results of increased use, diminishing pain killing effects, and liver damage. They are now free from that vicious drug cycle, and are effectively managing their pain with medical marijuana. As a result, the health of their liver, their over all health and psychological well being are improving. This ultimately benefits any society. The only entities in society which will benefit from revision number five, page eleven would be the pharmaceutical corporations.

    Please allow a human being on probation to correct the injustice he committed against society, as he pays his fines, his restitution payments, and full fills his community service requirements. Please recognize how many rights people lose on probation:They lose their right to privacy and their home is subject to being torn apart by authorities and searched at any moment. They have a mark on their criminal record that will never be removed, and they will endure their life times struggling to be approved for application for places to live or decent jobs. They lose the right to socialize with their friends in a bar, they lose their right to vote, and they must take time off from work every month to see their probation officer. Along with this, they make payments every month to the Department of Corrections for the fees charged for having a probation officer.

    Most disciplinary actions taken by courts against an individual who has done wrong are good and very productive for society. However, retaliatory action, such as denial of prescription medication, and continual denial for application for a place to live and a chance at a decent job, is the perpetration of further injustice in our society. I am asking for the compassion from the committee toward these people, and to draft this future law in a way that allows people on probation the right to purchase this effective, safe and herbal medicine prescribed by doctors for their illnesses.

    I agree that a substance such as alcohol should be forbidden to anyone under D.O.C. supervision due to it’s lack of medicinal value, it’s use as a strictly recreational drug, and the many grievous problems alcohol has caused society. A British clinical study recently concluded that marijuana users have a significantly lower vehicle accident record than the non- marijuana users. They attributed these findings to marijuana’s effects upon a person of increased mental focus and stress reduction. The other finding of this study in the U.K. was the highest rate of car accidents belong to those who use alcohol, which would be expected.

    I am asking each law maker/legislator to please refuse to vote for the bill presented for revision of Medical Marijuana Law until the committee has drafted this future law in a way that allows people on probation the right to purchase this effective, safe and herbal medicine prescribed by doctors for their illnesses.

    I realize the idea for revision five on page eleven of draft of LCMM01 came from the state of Colorado, however, I absolutely do not believe Montana is limited to the ideas of another state. One of the reasons Montana is referred to as “the last best place” is due to the fact we have often refused to follow after the actions of other states. Thank you.

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