cannabisnews.com: Let's Clear Up The Very Flawed MMJ Act
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Let's Clear Up The Very Flawed MMJ Act
Posted by CN Staff on August 06, 2010 at 08:31:10 PT
By Dr. Ronald P. Skipper
Source: Great Falls Tribune
Montana -- The Medical Marijuana Act is found in title 50, chapter 46 of the Montana Code. I would encourage all citizens to read this poorly written law. It legalizes, for virtually any medical reason, the use of marijuana, a heretofore illegal recreational drug.A person who wishes to use medical marijuana must be designated as a "qualifying patient" by obtaining "written certification" from a physician who has diagnosed a "debilitating medical condition." The patient then applies for a "registry identification card." 
Once the card is obtained, the qualifying patient may then use medical marijuana at will, virtually without restriction  either growing it and preparing it himself or designating a "caregiver" to provide these services.To be designated as a qualifying patient, a person must be diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition. Here is a partial list of approved debilitating medical conditions: cancer, glaucoma, AIDS and any chronic or debilitating medical condition that produces wasting, severe pain, chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or severe muscle spasms.By these criteria anyone could be a qualifying patient, as it is impossible to disprove severe pain, chronic pain or severe nausea.By this law, it would be perfectly legal to use marijuana to treat arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, menstrual cramps, nocturnal leg cramps, recurring hiccups or any other condition causing chronic pain, ad infinitum.The most recent statistics from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services show that there are 19,635 registered qualifying patients. Of these, 18,099 (92.1 percent) were qualified, in part or totally, due to chronic pain or chronic nausea.On the other hand, a mere 4 percent were qualified due to a proven disease such as cancer or AIDS. The remaining patients were qualified on the basis of "wasting syndrome" or muscle spasms, which are ill-defined.Next, the term "caregiver" is defined as a person "18 years of age or older who has agreed to undertake responsibility for managing the well being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana."Aside from age, there is no other qualification. By this law, it is perfectly legal for a teenager who has no medical knowledge or training to grow and distribute marijuana. Furthermore, this 18-year-old caregiver may charge whatever he wishes for his services. Marijuana is classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule I drug and cannot be prescribed even by a highly trained physician since it is against federal law.However, the MMA allows an untrained teenager to grow and distribute this very same schedule I drug, and to profit from it. Other examples of schedule I drugs are heroin, LSD, mescaline, methaqualone (Quaaludes) and psilocybin. Schedule I drugs are considered by the DEA to have no legitimate medical use, and a physician who tried to prescribe them could face criminal charges and professional censure. Nevertheless, by the provisions in this state law, a medically ignorant teenager may legally produce and distribute this popular street drug.But it gets worse. Under the provisions of the MMA, a child may be declared a qualifying patient and, with parental consent, may use medical marijuana. For example, by this law, a 5-year-old child with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis could use medical marijuana.Furthermore, the MMA provides many legal protections for qualifying patients and caregivers, but there is no provision for enforcement of the few restrictions placed on them.For example, the identity of those who possess a registry identification card is confidential, and anyone who illegally divulges this information is subject to fine and imprisonment.On the other hand, although the law provides limits on the amount of marijuana a caregiver or patient may possess, there is no mechanism to enforce these limitations. Indeed, section 201, paragraph 7 of the MMA specifically prohibits inspection of marijuana production sites by any governmental agency or law enforcement.The MMA provides no quality control on the production of medical marijuana. The MMA provides very little in the way of public protection. There is nothing in the MMA to prohibit someone from smoking marijuana on a city sidewalk, in a place of business or across the street from an elementary school. There is no provision to protect small children from harmful effects of second hand smoke or from an incapacitated parent.Regarding the qualification process  the only requirement is that the qualification be rendered during a bona fide doctor-patient encounter. The vast majority of qualifications are not done by trusted family physicians, but are handed out by a small group of sympathetic physicians who roam the state conducting medical marijuana clinics where everyone qualifies. The most recent statistics show that, to date, 322 physicians have certified at least one qualifying patient. Of these physicians, 179 have qualified no more than four patients each, and 79 physicians have qualified from five to 19 patients. This means that a mere 46 doctors qualified at least 17,346 patients, a full 90 percent of the total. That's an average of 377 qualifying patients per physician!The MDPHHS is required to annually report the number of registry identification cards revoked for abuse or fraud. To date, not a single revocation is reported on the website.Also, in the first 48 months since this law went into effect, a total of 1,301 qualifying patients were registered. In the last 18 months, a total of 18,334 qualifying patients were registered. This massive increase in the number of qualifying patients is due to marijuana advocates organizing medical marijuana clinics and signing up patients at lightning speed.If the MMA must exist at all, it should exist to provide for  and properly regulate  a medical service to the few people who actually need it, not to afford legal protection for illicit drug use. It should protect the public from associated dangers, fraud and abuses. The MMA must be revised.Here are some provisions that a new and improved MMA should contain:1. A statement such as this: "Inasmuch as the DEA has classified marijuana a Schedule I drug, that there are hundreds of other legitimate pharmaceutical products to treat virtually every known human ailment, and that marijuana has a long history of being a recreational drug with a negative impact on civil society, the purpose of this law is to provide access to medical marijuana for the few patients who really need it and to provide for the general public welfare."2. Certification of qualifying patients must be approved by unanimous vote of a panel of at least five reviewing physicians. Recertification should be done every six months. Certification fees should be significant  on the order of $500 to $1,000 per certification period.3. Smoking of medical marijuana must be restricted to private dwellings. Use of medical marijuana in public must be restricted to oral forms. Smoking of medical marijuana must not occur in the presence of children under age 18. Children under age 18 must not be eligible to use medical marijuana.4. Caregivers must be at least age 30 and must have basic medical training and a high school diploma and must pass a background check. They must carry malpractice insurance just like all other medical providers licensed in Montana.5. Marijuana production facilities must meet basic standards and must be subject to random inspection by all appropriate governmental agencies. Penalties for fraud and abuse must be specified, significant and enforced.6. Certification must be allowed only for specific medical diagnoses. A list of specific qualifying diagnoses must be developed and adhered to.The MMA is bad law. The MMA as it currently exists is a threat to civil society. It must be repealed and replaced with a real law that serves the public well.Dr. Ronald P. Skipper is a surgeon at the Central Montana Medical Center in Lewistown.Source: Great Falls Tribune (MT)Author: Dr. Ronald P. Skipper Published: August 5, 2010Copyright: 2010 Great Falls TribuneContact: tribcity sofast.netWebsite: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/URL: http://drugsense.org/url/P1IH0IFCCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archiveshttp://cannabisnews.com/news/list/medical.shtml 
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Comment #21 posted by gloovins on August 08, 2010 at 19:58:23 PT
here...
the text of the Michigan law: (j) A registry identification card, or its equivalent, that is issued under the laws of another state, district, territory, commonwealth, or insular possession of the United States that allows the medical use of marihuana by a visiting qualifying patient, or to allow a person to assist with a visiting qualifying patient's medical use of marihuana, shall have the same force and effect as a registry identification card issued by the department.
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Comment #20 posted by gloovins on August 08, 2010 at 19:52:47 PT
joseph
Hey Michigan medical cannabis law provides for any visiting patient, within the 1st 30 days of arrival to the state, to be legal. They have to have a valid out-of-state card or it's equivalent. The Mich MMJ law is long and kind of complicated but it does protect those patients visiting from out of state.
Hope all are well....
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Comment #19 posted by Paint with light on August 08, 2010 at 11:46:26 PT
comments # 7 and # 17
Here are some links to my state representative who is a control freak and an evil doctor.His famous quotes are, "Marijuana is equal to heroin", and "How are we going to know how to prescribe it?".Joey Hensley is the single person most responsible for torturing the sick in Tennesse and denying them a non-toxic herbal medicine."But willful ignorance has no excuse...particularly amongst those whose education and social standing afforded them by that education gives them more clout in this society."The MD after his name persuaded a lot of others in the legislature that his views against our bill to allow medical cannabis, were valid and informed.A picture of true evil.One Person.So much harm. http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/house/members/h70.htmlAny doubt of his allegiance can be found in a list of his contributors.http://www.votesmart.org/finance.php?can_id=48811At this site look at his views under general, and his religion, and accomplishments.http://www.votesmart.org/finance.php?can_id=48811Legal like alcohol. 
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Comment #18 posted by josephlacerenza on August 08, 2010 at 06:27:13 PT
Where is th MMJ card Good?
This is how it works:1) If you live in a state that recognizes MMJ and you have a card issued to you from that state Montana will honer it. The short answer, you can get medicine.2) If you live in a state that does not recognize MMJ and you have a condition our law recognizes as benefiting from the use of MMJ, you can get a card and get medicine.No, the state you reside in does not have to recognize a Montana MMJ card. I.E. Oregon does not recognize ANY card other than ones issued in Oregon. The same goes for the other 14 plus DC. I believe that S Dakota was trying to add this type of provision to their up and coming try at medical legalization, or was it N Dakota? I do not recall. In the end, Montana is the ONLY state that will recognize some other states card, or issue you one from Montana.You can also assign a caregiver for you here in Montana, so you could have UNINTERRUPTED accesses to MMJ, while here in Montana.I, a caregiver, can not "send" it out of state, even to another MMJ state. Although, I can see a loophole there. Full Spectrum Laboratories, based in Colorado, was receiving "medical" samples in the mail for potency analysis. 
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Comment #17 posted by kaptinemo on August 08, 2010 at 04:58:25 PT:
Many thanks for the compliments, 
but I don't deserve them.I just 'call 'em as I sees 'em', as a famous baseball umpire once said. That's all. Far too many people forget that doctors are fallible humans like the rest of us...and in their case, mistakes can lethal consequences.So can their beliefs and prejudices. Especially when those demonstrably false beliefs and rabid prejudices are enacted into law, and are maintained despite proof of their illegitimacy. Cannabis prohibition is a perfect example of this ignorance and prejudice in operation. Especially in light of its' antineoplastic (anti-cancer) properties. Truly, Skipper is being 'iatrogenic' in his desire to prevent the widest dissemination possible of this remarkably safe healing herb, that has a galaxy of industrial applications to boot. His actions harm the very society he swore the Hippocratic Oath to serve. An oath that explicitly begins with "First, do no harm". Honest ignorance is excusable; we all suffer from it many times in our lives. But willful ignorance has no excuse...particularly amongst those whose education and social standing afforded them by that education gives them more clout in this society. They have a duty to determine the truth with regards to what best serves that society, and IMHO, like most of his prohib, control-freak kind, Skipper has failed in that task, and thus failed society, miserably.When my Irish Catholic Mum would hear or see of some priest being arrested for being a child molester, she used to shake her fist in the air and say "God save us from bad priests!" I add, "God save us from prohib doctors!" for they do even worse damage.
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Comment #16 posted by BGreen on August 07, 2010 at 23:03:42 PT
If you are too stoned it's not a problem
A sugary beverage will bring you down as fast as you went up. Cops don't want you to know that because it invalidates their claim of "hospital visits" caused by this plant. A sugary beverage to a person consuming too much cannabis acts almost like Narcan does to an opiate user, except that there was never a single chance of death to the cannabis user.Nothing sobers up a drunk except time.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on August 07, 2010 at 21:09:47 PT
Nor is being high as a kite
anything like being drunk as a dog.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on August 07, 2010 at 21:07:48 PT
Josephlacerenza
I wish those that need to could understand that being stoned, even to the bone, is nothing like being drunk as a skunk.
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Comment #13 posted by BGreen on August 07, 2010 at 20:55:19 PT
Are cards recognized by other MMJ states?
Or are they only good in the issuing state?The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #12 posted by josephlacerenza on August 07, 2010 at 20:43:51 PT
Hey Yal 
Come to Montana, get your card here. It will not help you if you live in a state that does not recognize it, but while you are here, enjoy!!!Montana Medical Marijuana Cards Available To Out-Of-State Applicants
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/06/montana-medical-marijuana-cards-out-of-state_n_674171.htmlThey tried to shut it down and can't!!!
I mentioned it here before. But I can not find the link. Hope I appreciate you so much !!! I do not feel he, the doctor, has enough MOTIVATION to firebomb someone!!! Or, he would have been MOTIVATED enough, in the first place, to get connected to the clinics.The law in very clearly vague on needing a Montana ID or license. WE want to be a MMJ draw for tourism... Why not!!! Come fish, site see, see Yellow Stone, STONED.MMJ is moving forward here in Montana. We have some good models in Colorado and California. (All I mean as good models is how to make it, MMJ, legitimate medicine politics and economics aside) 		
	
	
		
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on August 07, 2010 at 20:13:12 PT
Comment 3 Storm Crow
I think you've got him pegged, too.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on August 07, 2010 at 20:12:09 PT
Josephlacerenza
Yes. I couldn't help but wonder if this zealous anti-cannabis doctor might be a fire bomber... or at least a conspirator.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on August 07, 2010 at 20:09:27 PT
Kaptinemo
It is so good to hear from you.We miss you and your comments here so much. Get back and share your opinion more often. I, and I know, many others here, find your comments enlightening and encouraging and miss them when you don't share them with us often enough.Iatrogenic? Enlightening right there! A new word me, and yes, it is a reality. You seem to have pegged this Dr. Skipper and his attitude very well.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on August 07, 2010 at 19:40:24 PT
Kapt
It's good to see you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on August 07, 2010 at 19:38:31 PT:
"By their works, ye shall know them"
And when it comes to control freaks, it's not very hard to identify them. They're the ones who always believe that they know what's best for you, so don't worry your pretty little head about how wrong they might be, because they are never, never, ever wrong...about anything.When it comes to some doctors like this one, the word 'iatrogenic' isn't a concept, it's a reality. For his stance on MMJ is truly an instance of 'doctor caused' harm to not only his patients, but society as a whole.
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Comment #6 posted by Dankhank on August 06, 2010 at 19:45:57 PT
card ...
I have downloaded the form for the Montana Card ... I must find a doctor for a letter and pony 25 dollar and then I will have a card .... Huzzah ......
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Comment #5 posted by GentleGiant on August 06, 2010 at 17:13:28 PT:
Hold the Presses, 'Montana Doctor Goes Koo Koo'.
Clearly, this is a doctor that doesn't know a damn thing about marijuana. I think it would be fair to solicit that these, 18 year old's, probably knows more about marijuana than this clown. Go back to school, Doc.
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Comment #4 posted by josephlacerenza on August 06, 2010 at 13:10:19 PT
My 2 cents
I have said it here before. It is not about anything more than MONEY. MCN was able to usurp the power that these doctors feel they have over the prescribing/recommending of cannabis. These doctors that are FOR cannabis, but not in the way it has been implemented, are belly aching because they were anticipating greater revenues.It is a bullying game here in Montana. Recall the reaction in Billings, firer bombs. There is REAL money to be made, and if YOU were not the intended recipient, they will castrate you!!! They know how. There are more cattle in Montana than people!!! 
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Comment #3 posted by Storm Crow on August 06, 2010 at 09:57:44 PT
Translation....
If you aren't actually DYING- 
 I DON'T WANT YOU TO HAVE IT! And even then you have to bribe ($500 to $1,000 per certification period) us to get it! Ah, the Puritan mindset!
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on August 06, 2010 at 08:53:52 PT
Common Sense
That's what is lacking in this article.
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on August 06, 2010 at 08:48:24 PT
this article
I guess it shows that one can be intelligent enough to be called a surgeon yet still have several screws loose.
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