XGR Panel Gets Earful on Concerns Over MMJ Law
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XGR Panel Gets Earful on Concerns Over MMJ Law
Posted by CN Staff on April 27, 2010 at 17:45:14 PT
By Mike Dennison, Gazette State Bureau
Source: Billings Gazette
Montana -- From police to physicians to patients, a legislative panel Tuesday got an earful on the problems — or possible fixes — that face the state’s medical-marijuana scene, which has seen an explosion in the number of users.Law-enforcement, school and city officials said the huge growth in patients certified to use medical marijuana in Montana has exposed numerous legal dilemmas, as they try to balance the state law allowing its use against antidrug laws and efforts.
Lewis and Clark County prosecutor Mike Menahan of Helena said most of the felony drug offenders on probation or parole in his county have medical-marijuana cards, essentially allowing them to use drugs in violation of the terms of their release.“I see that as a terrible problem and a huge loophole in the law,” said Menahan, who is also a legislator.Even some of the strongest supporters of Montana’s medical-marijuana law said Tuesday it needs some changes to protect against its abuse.Yet supporters also told the Children, Families, Health and Human Services Interim Committee that people with a legitimate medical need for marijuana need to be able to obtain the drug without fear of being arrested or harassed by law enforcement.“This law is about compassion, liberty, health and patient’s rights,” said Tom Daubert, director of Patients and Families United, a group representing medical-marijuana users. “I think it’s very important that we make it work.”Montana voters enacted its medical-marijuana law in 2004 by passing Initiative 148, with 62 percent in favor.It allows people with a “debilitating medical condition,” as certified by a physician, to obtain a state registry card allowing them to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for medical use. Patients with a card can designate a “caregiver” who can legally supply marijuana to one or more patients.Since June 2009, the number of registered patients in Montana has jumped from nearly 3,000 to more than 12,000. Businesses growing and supplying medical marijuana have sprung up around the state, and some have organized trav-eling “clinics” at which people can line up to see physicians to become certified as patients.Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, who chairs the interim committee, said Tuesday it wants to hear all sides of the issue so it can “bring some order to the chaos at the moment” and recommend proposed changes to be forwarded to the 2011 Legislature.Marijuana growers and their representatives testified that the law does create ambiguities on what’s legal and what’s not. But they said medical marijuana has become a legitimate industry in the state, with “secondary service providers,” like chemists, bakers and couriers, and that most of those involved are trying to follow the law.“Take the time to come and look,” said Rick Rosio of Montana Pain Management in Missoula. “Our doors are open to you. Our growing operations are open to you.”Daubert, however, said voters who passed I-148 didn’t think they were voting for “open smoking or public use of cannabis,” traveling clinics or large growing operations in residential neighborhoods.Sen. Jim Shockley, R-Victor, asked whether supporters would object to registering marijuana-growing sites with the state, listing the patients served by caregivers, requiring records of all marijuana transactions or a list of physicians certifying patients.Jim Gingery, executive director of the Montana Medical Growers Association, indicated that most of those changes might be acceptable, as long as the privacy of patients is preserved.Powell County Attorney Lewis Smith suggested that the program be regulated by the Department of Labor and Industry, by a professional board appointed by the governor, so it could react more quickly to problems rather than waiting for the Legislature to address things every two years.Much of Tuesday’s testimony focused on how the law can create conflicts with other laws or policies, such as those forbidding drug use at schools.Aaron Bouschor, an attorney with the Montana School Boards Association, said questions are being raised about whether students who have a medical-marijuana card can participate in extracurricular activities, which forbid drug use by participants, or whether they can use medical-marijuana products during the school day.“We are still in the Wild West, figuring out just what the scope is with medical marijuana,” he said.And some came to testify that the law needs to be tightened to prevent its abuse by people who clearly don’t need marijuana for medical purposes and who are abusing an illegal drug.Kay Parmiter of Missoula noted that many recently certified patients are people between the age of 21 and 30, and she doubts they have legitimate “debilitating conditions” that need medical marijuana. She said her 22-year-old son is a “marijuana addict” who obtained a card so he can legally obtain the drug.“Close the loopholes for our youth,” she said. “Stop people from profiting from our youth.”Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)Author: Mike Dennison, Gazette State Bureau Published: Tuesday, April 27, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Billings GazetteContact: speakup billingsgazette.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #5 posted by Canis420 on April 28, 2010 at 22:26:28 PT:
I Do Not
wanna preach to the choir so I will not comment on these ppl(Menahan Shockley Bouschor and the illustrious Ms. Parmiter...idiots) ooops I commented...dang
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Comment #4 posted by Paint with light on April 28, 2010 at 21:07:09 PT
The 33% hard core we need to reach
There is roughly a 33% hard core group that is still firmly against legal cannabis.But they aren't against alcohol.Using the alcohol comparison puts it in their world.Legal like........alcohol.
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Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on April 28, 2010 at 18:52:05 PT
what to do
“Law-enforcement, school and city officials said the huge growth in patients certified to use medical marijuana in Montana has exposed numerous legal dilemmas, as they try to balance the state law allowing its use against antidrug laws and efforts.”Well, it is obvious that the antidrug laws and efforts will have to be changed to comply with the medical cannabis laws just enacted. Get it, medical cannabis is LEGAL now. What is the problem? Get to work and do it, and stop fussing about it. 
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on April 27, 2010 at 20:57:57 PT
Dennis Peron confirmed he'd suffered a stroke
​With the marijuana movement sparking these days, one of its seminal figures was just nearly snuffed out. Dennis Peron -- a longtime pot activist and the co-author of the 1996 medical marijuana ballot initiative, Prop. 215 -- on Sunday confirmed he'd suffered a stroke. "That's why I didn't give a speech at the hemp expo" at the Cow Palace, Peron told SF Weekly. He noted that he suffered the stroke about a month ago and underwent an operation yesterday to "unclog my artery." "Total success, total success," the 65-year-old continued. "I have so much more energy. I'm on the mend. Don't count me out." cont.
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on April 27, 2010 at 20:45:38 PT
Marijuana Legalization More Popular Than Obama, Health Reform, and War on Terror read that right. Legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults has more widespread support than President Obama's administration. Pot legalization is also more popular than the recent health care bill that passed in Congress and has higher approval ratings than our handling of the Global War on Terror.Surprised? You may have heard of the widely publicized AP/CNBC poll (released on 4/20) that claimed 55% of Americans are opposed to ending prohibition. While it is true that 55% said "oppose" when asked "Do you favor, oppose or neither favor nor oppose the complete legalization of the use of marijuana for any purpose?" Raw Story noted that:"...a more nuanced probing of the issue, carried out by the polling firm but almost entirely unmentioned in the media on April 20th, found that when stacked next to alcohol, often a more debilitating and addictive substance, statistical support for drug law reforms skyrocketed."On page four of AP/CNBC's poll report, respondents were asked if they thought the U.S. should treat marijuana and alcohol similarly. 44% thought that marijuana shouldn't be treated any differently than alcohol, while another 12% even wanted less strict rules for marijuana than for alcohol- making a whopping 56% in favor of pot legalization.Just how does 56% approval for marijuana legalization stack up against other issues in the United States today? On the same day that the poll results were released (and distorted by multiple major news outlets) Rasmussen showed Obama's approval rating at just 49%, a statistically significant gap. More Americans approve of legalizing marijuana than they do President Obama's administration.But that's not all.CONT.
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