While more states all over the nation are legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, the patients of Montana have found themselves locked in a furious battle with the state in hopes of simply keeping their program operational.
Earlier this week, some of state’s legal henchmen argued before the state Supreme Court that law enforcement should once again have the authority to stop dispensaries from selling medical marijuana, as well as resurrect a portion of an old law place that places heavy restrictions on caregivers, allowing them only to distribute medicine to a small number of patients.
In addition, the state also made a myriad of other requests, including imposing mandatory investigations on any doctors who recommends cannabis to any more than 25 people.
If the court sides with the state, the sale of medical marijuana would effectively be banned throughout Montana. Patients would still be allowed to cultivate their own medicine, but the concern is that many seriously ill patients will not have the resources or endurance of good health to manage an undertaking like caring for a personal grow space.
Legal experts privy to the cannabis industry say if the court decides to ban sales, it would contribute to one the most ominous medical marijuana programs operating in the U.S. today.
“Montana stands alone in the extreme way in which it has nearly repealed its medical marijuana laws and in the way it has strangled out its own medical marijuana industry,” Seattle attorney Hilary Bricken told The Associated Press. It “is desperately trying to put the genie back in the bottle, from what I can tell.”
The state’s medical cannabis program, which was approved by voters in 2004, increased in popularity a few years later after the federal government announced plans to take a hands off approach to medical marijuana states. This caused a serious uptick in the number of registered patients as well as a swelling of providers. Those who opposed the law argued that the medical program had become a front for the illegal trade. Eventually, the Drug Enforcement Administration came crashing in and unleashed their vile wrath against the local industry.
Now, that state wants to establish a system where “you can grow for yourself, or you can have someone else grow for you without pay,” but there will be no commercial access.
James Goetz, the attorney representing the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, argues that the market must be controlled in a different way.
“When the state says it has too many cardholders… What it really means is you’re certifying people who shouldn’t be certified. So enforce it that way,” he said. “I don’t know if there are 800 or 8,000 glaucoma sufferers in this state. Whatever the number is, they should be entitled to this kind of treatment.”
The court is expected to rule on this issue within the next six months.
What you you think? Do patients in Montana deserve the right to medicinal cannabis? Tell us in the comments below.