New Medical Marijuana Amendments Emerge
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New Medical Marijuana Amendments Emerge
Posted by CN Staff on April 06, 2011 at 06:04:19 PT
By Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau 
Source: Billings Gazette
Helena, MT --  A bipartisan group in the House has proposed some major changes that seek to restore Montana's medical marijuana law to what people thought they were voting on in 2004.Rep. Cary Smith, R-Billings, said the amendments will be offered Wednesday at a 3 p.m. hearing before the House Human Services Committee on Senate Bill 423, by Sen. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings.
SB423 appears to be the lone surviving bill to repeal the current law and put into place a strict regulatory and licensing system.HB161, by House Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade, would repeal the law altogether as of July 1. Milburn's bill has passed both chambers and is headed to Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who has said he wants the law fixed, not repealed.Besides Smith, others who worked on the amendments Tuesday afternoon were House Majority Leader Tom McGillvray, R-Billings; and Reps. Tom Berry, R-Roundup; Gary MacLaren, R-Victor; and Diane Sands, D-Missoula. Most have been working on medical marijuana bills throughout the session, while Sands was chairwoman and MacLaren vice chairman of an interim committee that studied the issue last year.They took parts of various bills that they agreed on and are combining them for what amounts to a rewrite of SB423."We looked at what we liked in other bills," Smith said.Some earlier sets of amendments drafted for SB423 may not be offered at the meeting in favor of the bipartisan group's proposals. Earlier, Smith and Rep. Pat Noonan, D-Ramsay, each had a set of amendments prepared for the bill.Here are some the highlights of the bipartisan proposal, according to Smith:-- The current medical marijuana law would be repealed mid-year, as Essmann's bill does.-- It would be up to a physician to determine what debilitating conditions lead to a recommendation that a patient use medical marijuana. The physician would have to certify that the patient's condition is debilitating, why it is and describe the other medications, procedures and other medical options that had been tried previously to treat the patient but weren't effective.-- The state Department of Public Health and Human Services would register all medical marijuana patients and issue them cards. Those who provide patients with marijuana also would have to register with the department. No other state agency would be involved. Local law enforcement agencies would be notified about which people in their cities or counties are legally using and growing medical marijuana.-- Montana no longer would have any licensed medical marijuana growing operations or storefront dispensaries for the product.-- Instead, one provider could grow medical marijuana for one authorized patient, but couldn't profit it from it. A provider could grow marijuana for a patient, but that patient couldn't grow for a provider. Someone could grow marijuana for up to three people, but only if they are related by blood or marriage, again without profiting from it.-- Like other proposals, these amendments would forbid telemedicine as a means for physicians to see patients regarding medical marijuana.-- If the amendments are approved and the bill passed, HB175 would be nullified. This bill, by Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, calls for a voters to decide by a referendum in November 2012 whether to repeal whatever medical marijuana law is on the books at the time or to keep it.Smith said the biggest problem with Essmann's SB423 is that it called for state-licensed medical marijuana growers. That would have required state regulation."We wanted to take it back to what Montanans thought they voted for," he said.He cited language from the 2004 voter information pamphlet in which backers of the initiative said, "Perhaps most importantly, I-148 would allow patients to grow their own personal supply of marijuana so that they will no longer have to buy marijuana from the criminal market.""It doesn't talk about having businesses and grow operations," Smith said.Smith has been a strong advocate of repeal but said these amendments would lead to a bill that amounts to "the next best thing."Essmann had said his goal under SB423 was to see medical marijuana cardholders drop to fewer than 2,000 from the current 28,500.Smith said he wasn't sure how many fewer cardholders there would be if the bill with these amendments passed."It's going to be considerably less," he said. "We know it's not going to be the 28,000, 29,000 we have now."Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)Author: Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau Published:   April 5, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Billings GazetteContact: speakup billingsgazette.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 07, 2011 at 18:09:47 PT
Fallout From Medical Marijuana Reform
Fallout From Medical Marijuana Reform, Repeal Felt Around Mont.By Christian Hauser April 7, 2011 Missoula, Mont. -- Fallout from the Senate bill that would sharply curtail Montana's medical marijuana industry is felt around the state. NBC Montana told you Wednesday night about a House committee vote that would slash the number of medical marijuana users by more than 90% from 28,000 to about 2,000.Senate Bill 423 would take the money out of medical marijuana. A repeal bill sits on Gov. Brian Schweitzer's desk. Either bill would put people who own medical marijuana stores out of business.URL:
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 06, 2011 at 20:10:48 PT
House Makes Major Medical Marijuana Bill Changes
 Wednesday, April 6, 2011 Helena, Mont. -- A House committee is making sweeping changes to a Senate proposal to overhaul Montana's medical marijuana law.Senate Bill 423, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann, aims to reduce the number of medical marijuana users and sellers in the booming industry.The House took Essmann's tight regulation measure and turned it into an almost entirely different bill Wednesday, aiming to have the tightest control of the drug industry without doing away with marijuana altogether. The committee endorsed the bill, which now heads to the House floor.Republican representatives say the new regulations are the next best thing in case Gov. Brian Schweitzer doesn't sign the bill lawmakers passed last week that would repeal the 2004 voter-approved law.Copyright: 2011 Associated PressURL:
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on April 06, 2011 at 10:26:11 PT
A sea change.
We are creating a sea of yes around an island of no. This is making it impossible for these crooks to operate in the dark.Is he loosing sleep at night worrying over the number of people who are using mj legally? 28,000, 29,000, 1,000 1,000,000. What difference could the numbers possibly mean to his peace of mind except the numbers=$ lost to his masters.I am sure he is not the least bit concerned about the cold, hungry kids and adults who could use a little of the compassion he seems to have for the loss in profits mmj will bring his constituents.
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on April 06, 2011 at 09:14:36 PT
.."what Montanans thought they voted for"
How presumptuous. Though, it does make for a laughable attempt at media spin.Sometimes you have to laugh at their blatant arrogance, because it's all you can do until the next election or recall.
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