Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Senate

Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Senate
Posted by CN Staff on February 25, 2009 at 04:39:41 PT
By Mike Dennison, IR State Bureau
Source: Helena Independent Record
Montana -- A bill giving medical-marijuana patients better access to the drug won final approval from the state Senate Tuesday, sending it on to the House for consideration.The Senate passed the bill on a 28-22 vote, picking up some additional support since the measure won preliminary endorsement Saturday by a 25-24 margin.
Senate Bill 326, sponsored by Sen. Ron Erickson, D-Missoula, makes several changes to the medical-marijuana law that Montana voters put into place by initiative in 2004.The law allows physicians to recommend that certain patients suffering from chronic pain be allowed to smoke or ingest marijuana to relieve the pain or otherwise treat their disease, such as glaucoma.SB326 increases the amount of marijuana that a patient or "caregiver" can possess from one ounce to three ounces; allows patients to get the drug from more than one licensed caregiver; allows licensed growers to have six "mature" plants rather than just six plants; and adds some additional medical conditions or diseases that can be legally treated by marijuana, such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and post-traumatic stress syndrome.Erickson has said the bill makes practical changes in the program so it will work better for those who need it.Six Republicans - Sens. Jerry Black of Shelby, John Brueggeman of Polson, Aubyn Curtiss of Fortine, Rick Laible of Darby, Dave Lewis of Helena and Terry Murphy of Cardwell - joined 22 of the Senate's 23 Democrats in voting for the bill Tuesday.Curtiss and Laible and Sen. Ken Hansen, D-Harlem, switched their vote to "yes" Tuesday after voting against the bill on Saturday.Twenty-one Republicans and Democratic Sen. Sharon Stewart-Peregoy of Crow Agency voted against SB326 Tuesday. Sen. Bruce Tutvedt, R-Kalispell, changed his yes vote from Saturday to a "no" on Tuesday.Source: Helena Independent Record (MT)Author: Mike Dennison, IR State BureauPublished: February 25, 2009Copyright: 2009 Helena Independent RecordWebsite: irstaff helenair.comURL: Articles:Senate Endorses Bill Tweaking MMJ Program Sniff Out Pros, Cons of Cannabis
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