Senate Blocks Debate on Medical Pot Repeal Bill
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Senate Blocks Debate on Medical Pot Repeal Bill
Posted by CN Staff on March 26, 2011 at 16:36:14 PT
By Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau 
Source: Billings Gazette
Helena, MT -- The Senate on Saturday refused to blast out of committee the House speaker's stalled bill that would repeal Montana's medical marijuana law July 1, possibly dealing it a lethal blow.Over in the House, representatives passed a bill on a preliminary vote to let voters decide in November 2012 whether to repeal or keep the law that legalized medical marijuana.
And on Monday, the full Senate will debate a newly written bill to repeal the current law and replace it with one intended to more strictly regulate what would be called "therapeutic marijuana." It is intended to make it much harder for people to obtain medical marijuana cards and try to squeeze profits out of the industry.These three bills are the remaining major options for the Legislature to address the medical marijuana issue.In the Senate, House Bill 161, by Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade, is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which deadlocked 6-6 over it earlier this month. The bill has passed the House.The Senate, on a 25-23 vote, rejected a motion by Sen. Ryan Zinke, R-Whitefish, to blast HB161 out of committee and move it to the Senate floor for debate Wednesday. There was no debate on the merits of the bill because it was a procedural motion.Four Republicans joined 21 Democrats to block HB161 from reaching the Senate floor. The Republicans were Sens. Joe Balyeat of Bozeman, Dave Lewis of Helena, Terry Murphy of Cardwell and Chas Vincent of Libby.Democratic Sen. Larry Jent of Bozeman joined 22 other Republicans to support Zinke's motion.Republicans Jason Priest of Red Lodge and Jon Sonju of Kalispell were absent but excused. Even if they had been there and voted with Zinke, his motion would have failed on a tie vote.Meanwhile, the House passed HB175, by Rep. Keith Regier, R-Kalispell, to place before voters in 2012 the decision whether to repeal or retain the state Medical Marijuana Act. It passed 71-28 and faces a final House vote next week before moving to the Senate."I feel HB175 is needed because I've had many constituents tell me to get rid of it," he said.In 2004, Montana voters, by 62 percent to 38 percent, passed an initiative to allow marijuana to be used for medical reasons in the state."It was the people of Montana who gave the opportunity to use medical marijuana," he said. "The people of Montana should have the opportunity to repeal the law."Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, asked how HB175 would be affected by other medical marijuana bills in the session."Whatever form the Medical Marijuana Act comes out of the Legislature, that's what would be on the ballot in 2012," Regier said.She told the House that a better bill is on its way, Senate Bill 423, by Sen. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, which a subcommittee wrote last week. It also repeals the current law, Sands said, but it sets up a much stricter regulatory system, while still making medical marijuana available for seriously ill people.Rep. Ken Peterson, R-Billings, endorsed Regier's bill, saying Montanans want to be rid of medical marijuana completely and don't want another attempt to regulate it."It's an albatross that's been hanging around the neck of the people of Montana," he said.Speaker Milburn supported HB175 and took a few pokes at SB423. He drew laughs on the House floor when he said HB423 would make the state Public Service Commission as the licensing authority for medical marijuana and added: "Just imagine the next (PSC) election."SB423 is "totally unworkable" in its present form, Milburn said. "They have a long ways to go on the bill.""We will at least have this bill," he said of HB175.Rep. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman, took offense at the joking on the House floor over the issue.Phillips said he recently missed a day at the Legislature to meet with his mother and her oncologist. He said his mother has stage four lung cancer and has been told she has six months to live. They talked about her using medical marijuana to ease some of her anxieties.The medical marijuana issue isn't one to laugh about, he said."It's for more courage to realize that we need to fix this, people," Phillips said. "It's for more courage to help people like my mother."The Senate will take up SB423 as its first bill to debate Monday before turning to HB2, the state's major budget bill.Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)Author: Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau Published:  March 26, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Billings GazetteContact: speakup billingsgazette.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 29, 2011 at 15:15:31 PT
Montana Senate To Vote on MMJ Overhaul
March 29, 2011Helena, MT -- Senators are planning a vote on the latest measure to tighten Montana's medical marijuana laws.The bill by Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann of Billings would dramatically reduce the availability of the drug to Montanans.If Senate Bill 423 passes, it sets up a possible clash with House Republican leaders who favor total repeal of the state's marijuana laws.The Senate measure would overturn the 2004 voter approved marijuana law and restrict who is eligible to become a medical marijuana patient. Essmann says his measure could reduce legal marijuana users from more than 28,000 to less than 2,000.Republican leaders in both chambers say a conference committee will likely be needed to hash out the differences between the House and Senate.Copyright: 2011 Associated Press
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on March 28, 2011 at 09:08:07 PT
Thank you. There is no one like Neil Young in my book. I don't know for sure but he might tour this year but he might not make it to Ohio. It has to be getting harder for him since he is getting older like we all are.
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Comment #12 posted by afterburner on March 28, 2011 at 06:44:50 PT
FoM - OT: Neil Young
Neil Young Adds Artist of the Year to His Humanitarian Honour at [2011] Juno Awards. [Google Search articles & video]
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Comment #11 posted by runruff on March 27, 2011 at 09:06:48 PT
Nothing but cannaphobic ranting!
They have no examples to point to.They have no research to support their claims.They deny scientific facts in order to support their cannaphobic fears.They ignore thousands of years of medical use around the world.It is an agenda and it is transparent and it stinks to high heaven!
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 27, 2011 at 09:01:58 PT
A few years ago I heard a stock market lady say that we have to stop worrying about jobs in America because those days are gone and we need to concentrate on the global market and investments. She basically was saying that is our economy. Just be good at investing in the stock market. I don't see humans as being a commodity to throw away like the right seems to think is ok. They don't understand that a nation neglected and people struggling to meet their bills and hoping to be able to afford to go to a doctor will cause a revolution. People are not expendable no matter how much they think we are.
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on March 27, 2011 at 08:45:43 PT:
FoM, that's usually how it starts
The problem is when those who are supposed to lead from founding principle begin to lead purely from self-interest...and damn the consequences. They'll use the cachet of the founding principles to rouse the easily-led and uncritically-thinking and whip them into frenzies, while hiding their condescending smiles behind their hands at how easily it was done. That's what's happened with the official 'R' leadership. The 'R's foot soldiers used to be largely limited to the Religious Right, but now they're being joined by those whose patriotism may be genuine, but whose leaders are pragmatic to the point of amorality. IMNHO, almost all of the 'R's rank-and-file now are in the position of the old 'forlorn hope', used as cannon-fodder while someone in a three-piece suit sits back and laughs at the rubes...while counting the money they stole from said rubes (and the rest of us!) while 'waving the bloody shirt' of culture war and urging their minions onward. Those 'R's who disagree with them on principle, are relegated to the 'fever swamps' of political impotence...when those principles are so desperately needed today.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on March 27, 2011 at 07:49:04 PT
It really is hard for me to understand what the purpose of this oppression is all about. They say they love freedom and America but seem to hate and try to destroy people who don't believe like they do.
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Comment #7 posted by kaptinemo on March 27, 2011 at 07:42:40 PT:
"Culture War 2.0" pretty much nails it
And you can readily tell who are the aggressors in this 'war'...with vanishingly few exceptions, they all have an upper-case letter 'R' appended after their names.It's not just cannabis. Anything that allows the average citizen to fight back against overwhelming corporate influence in government and private life is being attacked in State legislatures by those very same 'R's. What's happening in the Midwest with Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio are perfect examples of the deliberate machinations of the corp-rat machine hoping to 'gild the lily' and finalize their 30 year long push for absolute dominance of American life, and to reduce Americans to the level of Russian serfs. And said corp-rat-ist machine has so heavily infested the Republican Party that Mussolini would feel right at home; fascism with Brookes Brothers suits instead of comic opera military uniforms. But fascism all the same. For it was Mussolini himself who said that fascism is actually better described as 'Corporatism'. But that requires unthinking, irrational, enthusiastic foot soldiers, as you'll never find the corp-rat generals in the trenches; might get their silk suits dirty. No, to do the fighting, you need fanatics. Santayana said that a fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts after they have forgotten their aims. Too many of the modern-day 'R's have forgotten the basic 'aim' of limiting government, which perforce requires less intrusion in people's lives...put simply, it means no 'culture war'. Those few 'R' who hold strongly to the basic principles that once defined Republicanism, such as Ron Paul, are denigrated by those who have almost no understanding of what they claim to champion...and thus become the tools of George Carlin's Owners. Who will continue to fund the purblind 'R's anti-'liberal' campaign so long as their own efforts at plundering the treasury and impoverishing Americans continues. And that means allowing the fanatical foot-soldiers to exercise their prejudices, such as to attack MMJ laws.When the final straw lands on the fiscal camel's back and breaks it, and this country spirals down into hyperinflation, insolvency, social disruption and possible revolution, future historians will look back on this period in history and scratch their heads in wonderment how a supposedly advanced civilization could harbor so much irrationality (like the DrugWar) enshrined into law. They need look no further than to see, in what records might remain, what letter trailed after the names of the legislators who passed those idiotic laws.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 27, 2011 at 06:59:38 PT
I can't imagine how anyone could afford 4 visits in 6 months. Maybe they don't realize that we are living in a very bad economy. I do my best to stretch my visits to a doctor to one in 6 months or longer. 
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on March 26, 2011 at 23:24:13 PT
Excerpt from article in comment 4
To obtain a card for severe and chronic pain, patients would be required to have to an established professional relationship with a primary care physician that includes at least four visits in six months. A doctor who is a pain management specialist would have to review the patients' records. The bill would ban storefront medical marijuana dispensaries and any forms of advertising or promotions for the product. It also seeks to squeeze any profits out of the system by requiring those growing the marijuana to sell it for what amounts to a cost basis or nonprofit basis only. People authorized could grow their own restricted supply of marijuana or use a volunteer assistant. For those living in apartments, nursing homes or hospices who are forbidden to grow their own medical pot, they could obtain it from a nonprofit grower and have it delivered by a licensed courier, who would have to notify law enforcement officials prior to making deliveries. 
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on March 26, 2011 at 23:16:52 PT
US MT: Panel Passes Pot Overhaul That Repeals Current Law
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on March 26, 2011 at 21:45:58 PT
This vote was close.
Very close.This is certainly nerve wracking and there's still more trouble that could be raising it's head before this session of the Montana legislature is over.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on March 26, 2011 at 19:58:19 PT
Yes it is. In the end I hope it works out for the best.
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Comment #1 posted by josephlacerenza on March 26, 2011 at 19:14:59 PT
Oh, FoM it is a NAIL BITER!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!!
Off topic..... MMJ Peer review materials....Peer Reviewed Research #1: Cannabinoids Medical Facts / Information / Evidence / Data: THC, CBD, CBN, CBC, THCV, CBG in Marijuana / Cannabis Reviewed Research #2: Non-psychotropic plant cannabinoids: New Therapeutic Opportunities from, Medical Marijuana / Cannabis, an Ancient Herb Peer Reviewed Research #3: Scientists Find New Sources of Plant Cannabinoids Other than Medical Marijuana? I do do more than worrying if the Feds are coming to get meeeeeeee :)This will all work out . It seems to be the "culture war 2.0" That is all. They seem to not have the "war on drugs", aka "war on cannabis/marijuana" anymore. My $0.02
Montana Biotech
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