Med Marijuana Repeal On MT Gov’s Desk; Decision This Week


Photo: Michael Gallacher/The Missoulian
Gov. Brian Schweitzer visits a medical marijuana dispensary in Missoula in June 2010. A bill to repeal the state’s medical marijuana law is now on the Governor’s desk, with a decision due this week.

​A bill which repeals the medical marijuana law overwhelmingly approved by Montana voters in 2004 is currently sitting on Governor Brian Schweitzer’s desk. If the Governor signs it, it becomes law, and an estimated 90 percent of medicinal cannabis patients in the state will become outlaws with the stroke of his pen. The Governor’s decision is expected this week.

Sen. Dave Wanzenreid spoke at a Cannabis Expo at the University of Montana over the weekend, telling the group “It’s time to contact your representatives,” reports Allyson Weller at KPAX News. Hearing from the people does make a difference, according to Wanzenreid.

Photo: KRTV
Sen. David Wanzenreid (D-Missoula): “There’s no benefit to the patients, there’s no benefit to the caregivers, and frankly, there won’t be a grow industry anymore left in the state if these bills pass”

​Wanzenreid said he’s spent a lot of time on medical marijuana bills, and he doesn’t think repeal is the way to go.
“I think that what we need to do is revise the system so we have proper regulation over the industry to make sure that any abuses out there are remedied,” Wanzenreid said on Sunday. “The way the legislation is drafted now, the only person that benefits from this is the state. There’s no benefit to the patients, there’s no benefit to the caregivers, and frankly, there won’t be a grow industry anymore left in the state if these bills pass.”
The Democratic lawmaker said the public should get involved in the issue because it’s a matter of “public policy.”
He urged those who feel strongly about the issue to send an email or letter, or to call their representative in Helena.
Gov. Schweitzer said he is still weighing out the options, and hasn’t decided yet whether to sign the medical marijuana repeal bill, reports Laura Wilson at KAJ News. He added that he is waiting to see if another bill, also dealing with medical marijuana, will arrive on his desk this week.
Though unsure of his decision at this point, Schweitzer believes there is a genuine need for medical cannabis by some of Montana’s patients.
“If there are people that are legitimately helped by marijuana and I think there are some like that, I don’t want to take this care away from them,” Gov. Schweitzer said. “So we want to make sure that we tighten these rules up, so that people who really need the medical cannabis are getting it, and the people who are recreational users won’t.”
The Governor has 10 days to take action after a bill arrives on his desk. The 10-day period expires this Saturday. The repeal bill will automatically become a law without the Governor’s signature, if he neither signs nor vetoes it by that time.
It’s not too late to urge Gov. Schweitzer to veto medical marijuana repeal in Montana. Send your comments to the Governor by clicking here.