House, Senate OK Marijuana Bill in Initial Votes
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House, Senate OK Marijuana Bill in Initial Votes
Posted by CN Staff on April 26, 2011 at 13:31:51 PT
By Stephen Dockery, Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
Helena -- The state House and Senate gave initial approval Tuesday to a bill that would overhaul Montana's medical marijuana industry  spelling the likely demise of the state's multimillion-dollar pot industry.The measure negotiated by a conference committee appears to be on track for passage after Tuesday's 34-16 vote in the Senate and 72-28 vote in the House. If it passes a final vote, Senate Bill 423 will then head to Gov. Brian Schweitzer's desk.
Schweitzer hasn't indicated whether he would sign or veto the overhaul measure, but has suggested something could be done to control the marijuana industry. In a budget deal with Republican leaders reached Friday, Schweitzer added funds to the state budget for medical marijuana contingent on the passage of the overhaul bill.The measure carried by Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, aims to do away with the state's profitable marijuana industry and replace it with a grow-your-own system. Under the bill, the drug would be given to patients free of charge on compassionate grounds and it would limit a provider to three patients. There is no limit now.The proposal would likely lead to a significant reduction of the state's overall users, which was nearly 30,000 people at the end of March.Schweitzer already has vetoed the Republican-backed plan to repeal medical marijuana use in the state, saying it went against the will of the voters who approved the law in 2004 to help seriously ill Montanans.Montana's number of marijuana users has grown by nearly 10 times since 2009. The growth has some worried that the large marijuana use will attract federal action against the drug the U.S. government deems addictive, dangerous and illegal.Several medical marijuana businesses were the target of federal raids last month, and a letter from U.S. Attorney for Montana Michael Cotter issued last week said the prosecution of businesses that sell marijuana is a core priority of the Department of Justice.But lawmakers disagree on the best way to control such a growth industry.Supporters say the overhaul bill reins in massive marijuana grow operations that are endangering the state's public safety by attracting gang activity and youth use.Opponents say the proposed system is too restrictive, would deny the drug to patients in need and may force both buyers and sellers to dealing on the black market.During the debate of the issue Tuesday, many supporters said the bill was a compromise measure to significantly reduce the pot industry without doing away with it entirely, many Republican lawmakers' preference."If we let this go any longer we will have 50-, 60-, 70,000 people on it," said Sen. John Brenden, R-Scobey, about the fast growth rate of marijuana users.Sen. Jim Shockley, R-Victor, agreed, saying the bill was a necessary harness on an out of control industry, acknowledging opponents' criticisms of how strict the measure could be."Are people not going to get treatment that need it? Yes. But on the other hand people who shouldn't be using it aren't going to get it," Shockley said.Opponents of the bill took issue with the feasibility of the proposed system that requires goods to be grown and transferred to consumers for free. A number of lawmakers said the drug trade would be driven to the black market or leave the elderly without a provider to turn to."In the final analysis, I don't think this is an open enough system to really help the people that I think are out there who really, truly are benefiting from medical marijuana," said Sen. Cliff Larsen, D-Missoula.Sen. Mary Caffero, D-Helena, said the bill rules on producing marijuana products and powers given to law enforcement were "disconnected from reality" and the bill was "riddled with absurd provisions" that could put patients at risk."This bill is aimed at making it less legitimate, less safe and therefore less quality," said Caffero. Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Stephen Dockery, Associated PressPublished: April 26, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews  Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on April 28, 2011 at 10:34:54 PT
You're welcome. And I'm still hoping that everything good you'll have done there in Montana won't be trashed. It's a struggle. A terrible struggle. No doubt.
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Comment #8 posted by josephlacerenza on April 28, 2011 at 04:45:41 PT
Thank You Hope!
I am so glad you do see I care!
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on April 27, 2011 at 21:02:09 PT
Comment 4 Dongenero...
Looks about exactly right and it's simple to see, yet the "wise" legislators, seemingly, are completely blind to it.Don't worry, josephlacerenza. I believe you care about the people so terribly afflicted and looking for hope and help... and being denied it by asinine, self righteous busybodies. 
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 27, 2011 at 09:27:54 PT
All of us want the laws changed so sick people won't have to worry about getting in trouble for using cannabis to help make them feel a little better.
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Comment #5 posted by josephlacerenza on April 27, 2011 at 08:49:02 PT
SB423 Yuck!
It is not just about the industry for me... It had been bugging me that I may have came across about the BUSINESS more than the PEOPLE behind cannabis prohibition. I HAVE DYING PEOPLE contacting me for HELP!!! This is not about the BUSINESS for me!!!! PEOPLE ARE DYING!!! I am a plant genetics scientist. I have NO medical training, but here I am pushed into this MEDICAL THING...So, if I am callus, if I seem more about the INDUSTRY, I am truly sorry. I am trying to deal with REAL SH T, you know, PEOPLE DYING!!! Here are a couple of examples:"...Hi, i have a few people that are very intersted in the studies on Cannabinoids with Cancer and Lupus. Is there any clinical studies we can sign up for?...""...Sorry to disturb you. thank you for your prayer.
I email you a week or so ago about THC and cancer. Indeed my daughter had a tumor in the brain, we have the medical record, scans, MRI, to prove it.
We believe the only way to cure her is THC, probably administred via oil. The problem is that we can t find that amount of buds to make the oil... we are living in Ireland.
I was wondering if by any chance, or by compassion, you might be able to help us? We are ready to experiment the effect of cannabinoids on cancer cells to help the treatment of cancer. If you are working with those fantastic plants, you understand my reasons to believe thay can help my daughter to live a normal life.
thank you..."
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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on April 27, 2011 at 08:17:13 PT
SB423 - what cancer patient has the time to wait?
So, you get diagnosed with cancer. You apply for your MMJ license, which takes how many weeks to approve?Within a week you are in surgery or chemotherapy or both. Maybe your card will come next week?Ok, you're deathly ill from chemo at this point and no, your card didn't arrive.If it arrives next week, you could start growing or have someone else start growing. You're 3 weeks into fighting your cancer.Ok! You're approved, now, 4-5 weeks of vegging the seeds you somehow procured instantly.By the time your plants are ready to begin flowering, you're about 2 months into your battle with cancer. So far MMJ has been unavailable to you and first chemo round is was awful.Only 2 more months of flowering to go! By the time your plants mature you are 4 months into your battle with cancer.
Wait, just a couple more weeks to dry and cure your MMJ.Hopefully you are still alive.The point being, if you do not have access to cannabis when it is need for your treatment, you miss the entire point. It's not rocket science, yet these legislators are no where close to understanding the very basics of the issue. They are blinded by something, but it's not blinded by science...or reason.
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Comment #3 posted by josephlacerenza on April 27, 2011 at 07:30:51 PT
Wanzenried for Governor 2012!
This guy has a lot of heart. He listens to his constituents. Let us put him in the office Nov. 2012!
Wanzenried's Opposition to SB423
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 26, 2011 at 19:45:48 PT
Legislature Supports Medical Marijuana Reform
April 26, 2011Helena, Mont. -- It looks like the legislature has finally reached agreement on medical marijuana reforms. With just days remaining in the session, both houses are backing a bill that would drastically overhaul marijuana laws.It was heated debate in both houses over the last ditch effort to reform Montana's medical marijuana laws. Senate bill 423 overwhelmingly passed both houses Tuesday. The bill takes the money and the industry out of medical marijuana. It also says a person must grow their own marijuana or find someone to volunteer to grow it for them. The bill would likely lead to a significant reduction of the state's nearly 30,000 legal marijuana users supplied by large grow operations.Rep. Tom Berry (R-Roundup) says, "The initiative, I-148, when the voters voted for it, this brings it back to what the voters voted for. They did not vote for big shops. They did not vote for people selling it like it is. They voted so people could access it and that means for themselves."URL:
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Comment #1 posted by josephlacerenza on April 26, 2011 at 14:10:17 PT
SB 423 Repeal in Disguise
MT House and Senate Vote break down: House: , Senate:
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