MMJ Ordinance Tops City Commission Agenda
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MMJ Ordinance Tops City Commission Agenda
Posted by CN Staff on May 02, 2010 at 06:19:20 PT
By Richard Ecke, Tribune Staff Writer
Source: Great Falls Tribune 
Montana -- Opinions are mixed about regulating medical marijuana in Great Falls. City government hearings on the issue drew packed houses, and Tuesday night is expected to be no exception.Great Falls city commissioners will discuss medical marijuana at their regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday. At a city agenda-setting meeting Wednesday, Mayor Michael Winters suggested that the logical move would be to delay city action until state government improves its medical marijuana program.
"Let the Legislature plug the holes," Winters said.Voters statewide approved a medical marijuana initiative in 2004, but the number of marijuana patients approved by a state agency mushroomed in the last year from 2,000 to more than 12,000 patients. A physician must approve a patient's request to legally use marijuana to fight chronic pain or other maladies.Montana officials were startled by the heavier use of medical marijuana in the state, prompting calls for action by the 2011 Legislature. In the meantime, cities across the state have struggled to decide whether they should regulate medical marijuana businesses within city limits, ban it entirely or use moratoriums to delay a decision.Helena and Kalispell banned marijuana businesses outright, noting that the use and sale of the drug remain illegal under federal law.The Obama administration previously announced that enforcing federal laws against marijuana is not a high priority.Meanwhile, school officials, law enforcement officers and other people have expressed various concerns about a dramatic increase in marijuana use. Additionally, some businesses are not anxious to have marijuana businesses near them.It's a big, complex emotional exercise, and the City Commission faces tough decisions in the next few weeks.Planning staff gave commissioners three options: ban marijuana businesses within city limits, extend a moratorium through February 2011 to give the Legislature time to act or approve an ordinance that specifies zoning categories where marijuana shops can locate. Most medical marijuana advocates favor the latter option, noting Montana voters favored medical marijuana by a wide margin.Caregivers and patients have suggested that the city focus on zoning, rather than consider a wide variety of issues best left to legislators and state government."Just tell me where I can do my business and what's acceptable," said Joy Spencer, a Great Falls medical marijuana caregiver. Spencer urged the city not to delay action for months, noting commissioners could fine-tune a medical marijuana ordinance later."Nobody's going to come up with a perfect law the first time," she said Friday.Great Falls Police and the fire department have asked the city to extend its existing moratorium for up to one year to allow some issues and concerns to be researched.Al Recke, coordinator of the Cascade County DUI Task Force, said his group is concerned about increased marijuana use leading to impaired driving. He said legislators should consider defining what level of THC — the main active chemical in marijuana — in the blood would be considered impairment, similar to a blood-alcohol level.For now, a blood test can reveal whether a driver has any THC in his or her bloodstream, which can be considered as contributing to an accident, Recke said.He advised anyone using medical marijuana not to drive after using it."Any impairment is putting people at risk," he said.Recke suggests that the City Commission delay action until the Legislature meets in January.City commissioners, who have offered mixed views on the issue, may act Tuesday on three different ordinances reflecting the three options — ban medical marijuana businesses, extend the moratorium or create a new ordinance allowing the business and explaining where they can locate.A final vote would take place at the June 1 meeting.City Attorney James Santoro said commissioners could approve one of the three options on first reading, or could even opt to approve more than one.Even if commissioners decide to approve an ordinance allowing the medical marijuana businesses, some of the details are expected to be debated.For example, commissioners will consider potential license fees for marijuana businesses of $1,500 for an initial license and $500 for a renewal. Of course, if commissioners ban marijuana businesses in the city limits, the fee schedule would not be needed.The city also has proposed that marijuana growers and dispensaries must post on the premises a special business license for growing or dispensing marijuana. At the same time, the city proposed to prohibit marijuana businesses from posting any signs containing the words "marijuana" or "cannabis" or showing any images of marijuana plants.Caregivers such as Spencer prefer to be low-key."It doesn't have to be an in-your-face type business," she said.The proposed city ordinance also contains detailed requirements for marijuana businesses such as security cameras, alarm systems and exterior lighting. It also requires ventilation systems so that the odor of marijuana could not be detected outside a building or in adjacent buildings.Related Article From The Great Falls Tribune: Great Falls Tribune (MT)Author: Richard Ecke, Tribune Staff WriterPublished: May 2, 2010Copyright: 2010 Great Falls TribuneContact: tribcity sofast.netWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #18 posted by Hope on May 03, 2010 at 07:21:02 PT
Good pictures, Bro Ray. Thanks.
It looks like the flags really are at half mast, though.
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on May 03, 2010 at 04:48:21 PT
Thank you for the pictures. I hope you all had a great day!
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Comment #16 posted by Paint with light on May 02, 2010 at 23:41:05 PT
pics from # 15
It looks like a perfect day.I think the .021 jpg would make a great panoramic. Cut out the sky. What is left makes a really good composition.It looks like the flags are at half mast.Good shot.Thanks for sharing.Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #15 posted by RevRayGreen on May 02, 2010 at 21:52:27 PT
Pics from Iowa yesterday, enjoy
at the post party it was like it was legal among us all, until the police showed up at the park, sat in their car right   4:26 in the parking lot a good distance from the shelter, where the back was to the river where we lit up en masse, someone came and said the cops were out front, must've been 100+ out back, I walked around the front, only thing burning was pork chops, cigarettes, people enjoying the sun....after 5 min or so he was legal again...
my daughter/wife in front of statue
my son in black shorts with back to camera
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Comment #14 posted by runruff on May 02, 2010 at 20:57:28 PT
Letter from Crist?
One more brain dead "useful idiot" slogs on.This letter is so old and out dated it makes the State of Florida sound downright Appalachian.It is like a time machine looking into the past where the kings subjects all pretend there are boogies under the bed because he says so!Also they go on with medieval logic to explain the kings theory on how the world is flat. While his spokesperson is no doubt, tongue in cheek, he tries his strait-faced darnedest to sound scientific without quoting one fact! He has not sited one new or old study or recent development in the progressing dialogue on med-cannabis.This letter is a sham and an embarrassment to it's author!Now this ego fueled clown wants to became an independent?
That would be in name only since we would be getting the same old Crist tied to the same old cronies!
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on May 02, 2010 at 16:59:04 PT
I honestly don't know if the damage that is and will be done to all of the Gulf Coast States will able to be fixed for so many years that I don't know what will become of the people that live and work near those areas. It is tragic beyond belief. I have a strong dislike for oil and have since the 70s embargo. Waiting in line for gas and only being able to buy gas on certain day was all it took for me to dislike oil forever. It's filthy and smells horrible. When will we give up on oil and move into renewable energy? How much more damage does oil have to do to our world before we get on with changing our need for it?
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Comment #12 posted by Sam Adams on May 02, 2010 at 16:41:46 PT
florida, oil
FOM, yes, I've been amazed by how quiet the media has been about the oil disaster. Definitely nothing like this has happened in my lifetime. They keep talking about the Lousiana marshes - the oil spill is now the size of Puerto Rico, and it's not like a tanker with a finite supply of oil. The oil is going to keep coming out for weeks, like some monster awakened from the earth's primordial past. As the winds shift around the oil will likely hit most if not all places in Gulf of Mexico. I feel a strange mixture of horror and disgust. How much of that oil was headed for my car's gas tank?? Why was the oil industry allowed to take risks like this? They make billions off us and regularly spill oil into peoples' and animals' living area, treating the entire world like a toxic waste dump for their factory.You think about the horrors we've unleashed in the mideast with our wars, the warming climate and what it will do, now this disgusting spill. Look at the last 8 years - the oil cabal actually controlled the white house! This country has been run by the oil industry for 100 years, it's time we moved we all know, even the cannabis plant is a casuality of the petro-cabal.
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Comment #11 posted by Canis420 on May 02, 2010 at 16:38:25 PT:
Comment 6 & 9
It is the exact same letter...word for word, except for the person who sent it to me. Freakin form letter. My original letter was also to the governor. Like I said in my response. Head in the sand, knee jerk responses like this will not be tolerated my the American ppl anymore!
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on May 02, 2010 at 15:31:44 PT
Florida is really a strong leaning Republican state I think. It will be hard to get any change as long as the politics stay leaning more Republican. The Governors I recognize were or are Republicans.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on May 02, 2010 at 15:16:53 PT
Comment 6
That's exactly the same letter that was sent to Canis420.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on May 02, 2010 at 15:09:02 PT
My nephew works for the City in Tampa. I assume he will be working overtime when the oil hits there. If it's true like was written in the Wall Street Journal this morning and 100,000 barrels could be being poured into the Gulf it could be pushed down and around the tip of Florida and wind up in the Atlantic Ocean. I think I would be planning on moving but real estate will be very hard to sell if oil hits the Florida coast. It could contaminate the whole Gulf Coast region. It might take a couple of weeks to see that type of damage but this happening is really possible sadly.
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on May 02, 2010 at 14:55:14 PT
will be interesting to see what happens to Florida. In the immediate future, their entire economy is based on real estate, which just lost 50% of its value, with a huge inventory of foreclosed houses still being held by banks.The Gulf Coast tourism and seafood industry is about to be destroyed in the world's worst environmental disaster.And, there's an excellent chance that most of the state will be under water by 2050 due to our CO2 air pollution.
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Comment #6 posted by nic on May 02, 2010 at 12:28:36 PT
Don't Be afraid
April 16, 2010Dear Mrs. Goldstein:Governor Crist received your email and forwarded it to me for a response. I am the Director of the Florida Office of Drug Control. First, thank you for expressing your opinion to our Governor.It is important to understand that our federal and state drug control policies have one overarching goal: to reduce and, if possible, eliminate the use of illicit drugs like marijuana. Establishing a taxed and regulated legal market for adult marijuana users would not advance the goal of our drug policies. First, legal access to marijuana would likely result in steep usage rate increases. Our experience with alcohol and tobacco has taught us that commercial interests weaken sensible regulatory efforts.A legal marijuana industry would employ promotion, advertising, and lobbying to increase demand while maintaining prices well below their current black market levels. Stimulating demand while lowering prices would undoubtedly lead to both increases in the number of Americans that use marijuana as well as the intensity with which they use it.I am very concerned about the health and wellbeing of Florida citizens. The deaths caused each year by alcohol and tobacco represent a major cost to society that is in no way offset by the tax revenue generated by the sales of these substances. Furthermore, I do not believe that the adverse consequences of marijuana use (respiratory diseases, traffic fatalities, poor school performance, dependence, etc.) could ever offset the potential tax revenue it might generate.Any policy change that results in an increase in marijuana use, particularly among youth, is unacceptable. Cannabis use has acute effects on attention and memory, something that constitutes a particular problem for adolescents still in school and perhaps contemplating a collegiate future. Furthermore, marijuana use impairs judgment and motor skills, posing a serious risk of automobile accidents. It is also estimated that about 10% of marijuana users eventually become dependent on it. By enforcing policies that suppress the use of addictive drugs like marijuana, we are affirming our ultimate respect for freedom and liberty by ensuring that fewer Americans get trapped into a life of addiction.Finally, please be aware that federal and Florida laws prohibit “medical marijuana” because an expert review of the evidence conducted by the Institute of Medicine concluded that “Smoked marijuana…is a crude THC delivery system that also delivers harmful substances…[and] cannot be expected to provide a precisely defined drug effect. For those reasons there is little future in smoked marijuana as a medically approved medication.” Safer and scientifically proven drugs exist for all of the medical conditions that marijuana is erroneously thought to treat.Again, thank you for your correspondence to Governor Crist.Sincerely,
Bruce D. Grant
Florida Office of Drug Control
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on May 02, 2010 at 12:14:15 PT
I agree. I'm afraid if we look behind the scene we will see why they fight us so. I know that people would move away from alcohol and they don't want that to happen as one reason and there are many more.
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Comment #4 posted by Nic on May 02, 2010 at 12:00:25 PT
It is Amazing
That this little plant can divide us.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 02, 2010 at 11:28:50 PT
Left On Their Own, Cities Test New Marijuana Rules
May 2, 2010URL:
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Comment #2 posted by Nic on May 02, 2010 at 09:41:42 PT
Big Pharma
re: "Voters statewide approved a medical marijuana initiative in 2004, but the number of marijuana patients approved by a state agency mushroomed in the last year from 2,000 to more than 12,000 patients."You can bet that those 12,000 citizens are happy to be able to lower their pharmacueitical costs.
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Comment #1 posted by ezrydn on May 02, 2010 at 07:05:15 PT
Get It Right
"He said legislators should consider defining what level of THC — the main active chemical in marijuana — in the blood would be considered impairment, similar to a blood-alcohol level."Get that? The MAIN ACTIVE chemical. Not a metabolite which is NON-ACTIVE, which they test for today. It seems this cop understands. However, I doubt it. He just hit the right answer by accident.
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