Medical Pot Industry Group Asks Judge To Block Law
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Medical Pot Industry Group Asks Judge To Block Law
Posted by CN Staff on June 20, 2011 at 20:27:48 PT
By Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau 
Source: Billings Gazette
Helena  -- A former cancer patient and the husband of an elderly woman with serious health problems told a district judge Monday they worry whether they can still obtain medical marijuana if a new law takes effect July 1 and bans commercial growing operationsThey, some physicians and others testified during the first day of a hearing in a lawsuit filed by the Montana Cannabis Industry Association and others asking District Judge James Reynolds to issue an injunction to prevent the new law from taking effect July 1. The medical marijuana group contends the law is unconstitutional, while the state attorney general's office said it passes legal muster.
"If this law's enacted, I'm a dead man," said Pointe Hatfield of Gardiner, 60, a former river guide who has had cancer in his head, neck and throat. "I tried to grow it. I can't grow it. It died on me."Hatfield said he has a caregiver in Livingston who sells him his monthly one-ounce supply of medical pot for $200. Maintaining the current commercial market is vital, he said."It's the same as going to a drug store to get an aspirin," he said.Charlie Hamp, 79, is concerned about still obtaining a $40-a-monthly medical marijuana tincture for his wife, Shirley, 78, who had her esophagus removed and replaced with the lining of her stomach and has lost weight.Asked if he wants to grow medical marijuana and make tinctures, Hamp said, "Absolutely not." He added, "I have no expertise in gardening of any kind."Like Hatfield, the Hamps now pay to buy legal medical marijuana products from caregivers who grow it and can make tinctures, salves and other products.The new law, passed by the 2011 Legislature, halts all commercial medical pot growing operations in 12 days.It replaces them with a grow-it-yourself system or requires medical marijuana cardholders to find a provider (the new name for caregiver), to grow it for them -- but for free. Providers will be limited to growing medical pot for three patients apiece, while no such limit currently exists. Patients now pay their caregivers for medical marijuana products.In one of its most contentious issues, the 2011 Legislature approved the new law to reel in a medical marijuana system that many people believed has careened out of control in recent years.Montana now has more than 31,500 medical pot cardholders -- or more than seven times the 4,000 cardholders in September 2009.The numbers skyrocketed after the U.S. Justice Department issued a memo in October 2009 saying the federal government wouldn't prosecute any seriously ill people who were complying with their states' medical pot laws.Then a Missoula caregiver set up a series of "cannabis caravans" that traveled across the state to sign up thousands of cardholders. People at times saw out-of-state doctors in person or over the Internet for a few minutes before getting their cards.Earlier this year, federal agencies raided a number of Montana medical marijuana growers and seized medical marijuana plants and products and cash."The key issue here is the virtual denial of access to medical marijuana," said Bozeman attorney James Goetz, representing the Cannibals Industry Association.He said the law denies Montanans their fundamental right in the state Constitution to pursue good health. Goetz said the new law is allows "excessive government interference in the lives of Montanans" and empowers the state to conduct warrantless searches of patients and providers."Our proof will show that marijuana, while not completely harmless, is remarkably safe," Goetz said.But Assistant Attorney General James Molloy, representing the state, said the new law does not prevent people like Hamp's wife from obtaining a medical marijuana product. Hamp can grow it for his wife, hire a consultant to show them how to do it or find a provider to grow it for them.The imitative passed by Montana voters in 2004 envisioned a law in which people with certain conditions could grow their own pot for medicinal purposes, he said.The question, Molloy said, is whether the state must allow a commercial marijuana industry to exist in the state."The commercial activity they wish to engage in is illegal under the laws of the United States of America," he said.Reynolds asked the state attorneys if they are willing to concede that any parts of the new law are invalid and medical marijuana trade association lawyers to identify what parts of the law are illegal.Goetz called as witnesses three Montana physicians, a Harvard medical professor emeritus and a social worker, in addition to the Hatfield and Hamp.Dr. Jack Hensold, a Bozeman cancer specialist, estimated he recommends medical marijuana to two or three patients a month. One was Hatfield, who now is cancer-free but has continued difficulty with nausea and his appetite, which medical marijuana has helped, the doctor said.The oncologist said he worries about the restrictions in the new law because "the availability of the drug would be limited."Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School who has written extensively about marijuana, testified by video that medical marijuana should be as widely available as aspirin."Eventually, marijuana is going to be recognized as a wonder drug, just like penicillin was in 1941," said Grinspoon, who serves on the national board of NORML or the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.The hearing resumes Tuesday with the Cannabis Industry Association calling several final witnesses, before the state puts on its case.Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)Author: Charles S. Johnson, Gazette State Bureau Published:   June 20, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Billings GazetteContact: speakup billingsgazette.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help 

Comment #16 posted by Hope on June 24, 2011 at 21:48:16 PT
I guess that's maybe why they are so violent.
Those damned cannibals.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on June 24, 2011 at 21:44:00 PT
Who writes this stuff?
"The imitative passed by Montana voters."Charles Johnson.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #14 posted by Hope on June 24, 2011 at 21:34:22 PT
""The key issue here is the virtual denial of access to medical marijuana," said Bozeman attorney James Goetz, representing the Cannibals Industry Association."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #13 posted by Hope on June 24, 2011 at 21:25:30 PT
Reading The Billings Gazette
Montana seems like a violent, especially dangerous place.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by FoM on June 24, 2011 at 18:52:14 PT
Related Article From The Billings Gazette
AG's Office Weighs in on Pot Law Ahead of Judge's RulingJune 24, 2011URL:
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Comment #11 posted by dongenero on June 24, 2011 at 07:33:11 PT
CNBC poll
91% for full legalization with over 35,000 votes.The Montana poll that supposedly was a mandate for MMJ repeal efforts was merely 1000 votes, and barely a majority of conservatives.This cannabis prohibition is a farce. Stand up citizens!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by josephlacerenza on June 23, 2011 at 11:57:57 PT
Marijuana Poll!!
Marijuana—Poll: Should Marijuana Be Legal? - CNBC-
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by josephlacerenza on June 23, 2011 at 06:46:53 PT
Some Breathing Room!
Montana Biotech is a lab focusing on re-discovering the science behind cannabis. Check us out on-line here:
Grow Buddy:
Male Female Sexing:
Potency Analysis:
Joseph Lacerenza, Lead Researcher, Montana Biotech
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by Hope on June 22, 2011 at 19:08:18 PT
Comment 7
There's some hope there.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 22, 2011 at 15:22:08 PT
Judge May Block Parts of New Montana Marijuana Law
June 22, 2011Helena, Mont. (AP) -- A Helena judge said Wednesday that he is "struggling" with Montana's new medical marijuana law and indicated he may temporarily block at least parts of it before it takes effect on July 1.District Judge James Reynolds specifically mentioned concerns with a provision that bars commercial marijuana operations by prohibiting providers from making a profit or being reimbursed for their expenses.Reynolds said the state doesn't have a similar prohibition on pharmaceutical companies that profit from prescription drugs. But the new law would force marijuana providers to give their product away to people with debilitating illnesses, he said."The state is truly relying on guardian angels coming forward," Reynolds said.Reynolds did not make a ruling as he closed a three-day hearing on a medical marijuana industry group's request for him to block the law. He said he will decide before July when whether to stop the whole law or just selective parts of it.Complete Article:
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Comment #6 posted by josephlacerenza on June 22, 2011 at 11:13:33 PT
Court dismissed.
Court dismissed.
Tweets form the FRONT in the Courtroom!!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by josephlacerenza on June 22, 2011 at 11:03:32 PT
Judge...Not, he says, what initiative intended
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by josephlacerenza on June 22, 2011 at 11:01:13 PT
Judge says profit drives everything up here!!! You will hear it first!!!
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by josephlacerenza on June 22, 2011 at 07:05:05 PT
FINAL Day!!!
FINAL DAY of injunction court proceedings to STOP the #repeal of #MMJ in MT:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 21, 2011 at 16:54:13 PT
New Montana Pot Law Poses Problems for Regulators
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 Helena, Mont. -- Montana's medical marijuana overhaul is due to take effect in less than two weeks, but the new law has proven to be difficult to interpret, includes potential conflicts and may result in unintended consequences, the state's chief health regulator said Tuesday.The state Department of Public Health and Human Services is reviewing the law again to try to clarify the apparent conflicts, an examination that will still be going on when the law is scheduled to take effect on July 1, chief regulator Roy Kemp said.But the examination won't delay the department's implementation of the new law, he said."We will put out a rule, establish the forms and allow the public to go on the registry," he said.Kemp spoke to The Associated Press after he testified in a hearing in which a medical marijuana industry group is trying to block the law from taking effect.The law will ban commercial marijuana sales on July 1, leaving patients to either grow their own or find a provider who will be limited to care for a maximum of three patients.About a third of Montana's medical marijuana users grow their own currently, while the rest obtain the drug from registered providers.Marijuana distributors must turn over all their supplies to authorities before the new law takes effect. But there is no apparent way for patients whose provider goes out of business to obtain seeds or plants after July 1 without breaking the law.James Goetz, attorney for the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, asked Kemp whether that provision was a Catch-22."I would agree that under your original analysis it seems to lead you back to the beginning, which is an impossible place to begin," Kemp said.Kemp said the department's initial review of the law showed it would prohibit a husband from growing marijuana for his sick wife if she is a registered cardholder and the two live in the same home. That interpretation is part of the review, he said.The law also requires a complete overhaul of the state's medical marijuana databases and application system in a very short period, Kemp said."It is a difficult statute to understand and implement. Not impossible," Kemp said.The Montana Cannabis Industry Association says the new law violates medical marijuana patients' constitutional rights to privacy and due process. They are asking Helena District Judge James Reynolds to issue an injunction blocking the law from taking effect.The hearing is expected to end on Wednesday. Reynolds said he would not make an immediate decision, but would issue an order before July 1.The new law bars marijuana providers from making a profit and limits them to providing marijuana to just three patients. It also places additional checks on conditions for qualifying for the drug and on the doctors who certify medical marijuana patients.State attorneys defending the law say it will close loopholes in the voter-approved initiative that established medical marijuana use in Montana in 2004, while keeping access for the most seriously ill patients.Of the more than 30,000 patients, the largest age demographic is under 30, indicating abuses under the current law, said Assistant Attorney General Jim Molloy.One part of the new law would require the state Board of Medical Examiners to review any doctor that recommends more than 25 patients for medical marijuana in a year. That provision is meant to make sure no doctors are allowing ineligible people to receive cards.On Tuesday, Great Falls physician John Stowers testified that 25-patient limit was an arbitrary number that is not seen anywhere else in medicine.He acknowledged that there have been abuses of the system, but said he has established stringent checks on patients who ask him for a medical marijuana certification.But if he is reviewed by the board for certifying more than 25 patients, that review will be a stigma he will have to carry regardless of the outcome of the investigation, he said."Even if they find in my favor, it will be a black mark on my record for the rest of my life," Stowers said.Molloy said the Board of Medical Examiners has not yet come up with its procedures on how it will implement that part of the new law.Board member Mary Anne Guggenheim testified that the board had not taken up the question. It could be part of the current process, in which a complaint does not become public unless disciplinary action is taken, she said. Or a completely new process could be created, she said."We're not out to punish people, we're out to be fair and to provide public safety and to ensure our licensees practice to a standard of care that is accepted by the profession," Guggenheim said.The hearing began Monday with two patients saying they did not know where they would access medical marijuana if the law took effect. It was expected to continue through Tuesday.Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressURL:
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Comment #1 posted by josephlacerenza on June 21, 2011 at 06:27:39 PT
You can follow...
what is being Tweeted from the courtroom!! I am UPDATING my blog as fast as I can!!  Katecac she updates fast!! Be up-to-the-minute!! Follow her Tweets here, and if you can't follow here:
UPDATES from the Montana Cannabis Front
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