Bill To Restrict Medical Marijuana Draws Fire
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Bill To Restrict Medical Marijuana Draws Fire
Posted by CN Staff on February 01, 2011 at 06:30:07 PT
By Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau
Source: Billings Gazette
Helena, MT --  A proposal to make it harder for people to get medical marijuana cards for severe and chronic pain drew plenty of opposition and little support at a hearing on Monday.Senate Bill 170, by Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, would require a panel of three physicians experienced in pain management to review and ultimately decide whether to approve or reject another doctor's recommendation that a patient be authorized to use medical marijuana for severe and chronic pain.
At present, only a single physician's authorization is needed.At present, more than 20,000 people have obtained medical marijuana cards after claiming severe or chronic pain out of the 27,300 people who have obtained medical marijuana cards in Montana, according to state health statistics.“It is a classification that frankly right now is pretty wide open, and it has allowed some certifying physicians to be pretty loose in the awarding of their diagnosis, over the phone, out of state without a full medical workup,” Essmann told the Senate Judiciary Committee.His bill would change the diagnosis to severe and chronic pain, from severe or chronic pain, defining it as “severe, persistent and intractable pain” that is “unrelieved by standard medical treatments or medications” over a reasonable amount of time.The certifying physician would prepare a report demonstrating that the patient has not responded to traditional forms of pain treatment. The report would go to the three-physician panel, which would have a teleconference to make the final decision.“That part of the bill is intended to shut down the traveling circus situation we have now in Montana,” Essmann said.He was referring to the “cannabis clinics” popular last year that often used out-of-state physicians in person or over the Internet to see people for a few minutes and authorize them to get medical marijuana cards.The lone supporter of SB170 was Mark Long, representing the Montana Narcotics Officers Association, called the current medical marijuana situation “a joke.”“We just need to close this loophole down so that the people who are just seeking drugs to get high and to make a profit have a little bit tougher time than they do right now,” Long said.Sixteen people testified against it, with all but one of them either medical marijuana patients or involved in the industry. Most called the three-physician panel unnecessary, a step that would be unaffordable to many people.Since being hit by a drunken driver, Valerie Hellermann said, she has had 25 surgeries, has three artificial joints and is in chronic pain.“I have been to many pain specialists,” she said. “The drugs I have been offered were all highly addictive opiates.“These drugs do alter the perception of pain. They made me drowsy, hallucinogenic at times and unable to participate in my life or hold a job. I wasn't able to think clearly.”In contrast, the use of medical marijuana suggested by her longtime physician “allows me be alert, functional, able to work and participate fully and control my discomfort.”“Why would my physician need to have his decision reviewed by a panel and pay a fee for prescribing cannabis?” Hellermann asked. “He doesn't have to do that to prescribe opiates.”Amber Cox, 28, a college student from of Missoula said she is recovering from cancer but lives with pain. Medical marijuana helps her treat the pain, Cox said.“This would turn currently law-abiding citizens into criminals,” she said of the bill.Like others, Cox said medical marijuana didn't leave her with all the complications of narcotics she was prescribed.“I haven't contemplated suicide since I stopped taking barbiturates,” she said.Another medical marijuana user, Ken Lindeman, called the bill unfair to patients by imposing an unreasonable financial burden on them by requiring the three-doctor panel.Lindeman also took after the Legislature, saying: “Representatives are not qualified to make medical recommendations. You guys can't write the rules on pain. This is why we've got doctors.”Candace Payne, representing the Rimrock Foundation of Billings, which treats patients with addictions, said she is opposing all bills except those that repeal the entire Montana Medical Marijuana Act.“This is a gateway drug for many people,” she said. “Fixing one area of the Medical Marijuana Act will not cure the problem. The entire act needs to repealed.”The committee took no immediate action on the bill.Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)Author: Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State BureauPublished:  January 31, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Billings GazetteContact: speakup billingsgazette.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on February 02, 2011 at 15:04:09 PT
Bill To Repeal Medical Marijuana Law Gets Hearing
 Wednesday, February 2, 2011Helena, MT -- House Speaker Mike Milburn is making his case that Montana's medical marijuana law needs to be repealed.The House Human Services Committee is holding a hearing on the Cascade Republican's House Bill 161.The measure would strike from Montana law the 2004 voter initiative that legalized the use of marijuana by very ill patients for medicinal purposes.Opponents of the medical marijuana law say it is fraught with problems that became apparent during the recent boom in registered patients.Last month, the committee heard a proposal sponsored by Rep. Diane Sands to create a regulatory structure for medical marijuana.Also Wednesday, the House approved a measure making it clear that the state's indoor smoking ban also applies to medical marijuana.That measure will now be going to the Senate.Copyright: 2011 Billings Gazette URL:
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on February 02, 2011 at 08:09:15 PT
There's two kinds of violence, my friend!
There is the old fashion physical violence and then there is the new fangled economic violence.Physical violence is very visible and swift!Economic violence is less visible, more devastating and longer lasting. What is happening to American right now is the kind of violence that eats away at a culture like cancer. It really isn't visible until symptoms start to show, then it may be too late?I see prohibition as a weapon in the violent attack on the American people for profit! 
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Comment #2 posted by Hope on February 01, 2011 at 11:02:31 PT
"Awarding of their diagnosis"?
I've never heard such a thing before. That's insulting. Guess that goes back to the kind of people that think it's perfectly ok to abuse "Pot heads" and "Druggies". Getting to "Be cute" at someone else's expense.“It is a classification that frankly right now is pretty wide open, and it has allowed some certifying physicians to be pretty loose in the awarding of their diagnosis, over the phone, out of state without a full medical workup,” 
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on February 01, 2011 at 07:46:50 PT
Three people who profit on prohibition!
It is as obvious as a three day old fish! Busy bodies for cash is what I call them. How to turn misinformation, fear and corporate propaganda into a lucrative career?
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