|Jackson, caregiver and owner of Green Rx, said he was surprised the Legislature would vote to repeal a voter-passed initiative.|
A bill to repeal Montana’s medical marijuana law — and thus thwart the will of an overwhelming 62 percent of voters who approved it in 2004 — has passed both the House and Senate and is now heading to the governor’s desk.
Members of Montana’s medical marijuana community are still asking themselves what happened, pinning their hopes on a veto from Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
It’s surprising that the Legislature would vote to repeal such a popular voter-passed initiative, according to Jim Gingery, executive director of the Montana Medical Growers Association, reports Dan Boyce of KXLF.
“Particularly, one that was supposed to be increasing jobs and helping the economy instead of taking jobs away and hurting patients,” Gingery said.
“The number of jobs lost in the state of Montana would be significant,” Tayln Lang, head of the Missoula chapter of the Montana Medical Growers Association, told Christian Hauser of KECI. “I believe it would be in the thousands or tens of thousands of jobs lost.
According to Lang, medical marijuana has become a partisan issue in the Montana Legislature, not an issue about whether it can medically help people.
“It’s very unfortunate and unfair for the politicians to be playing politics with people’s health care at this point,” Lang said.
“Sixty-four percent of Montanans voted for medical marijuana; now, six, eight, 12, 20 people are trying to take that away from us,” said Jackson, a caregiver and the owner of Green Rx, who preferred not to give his last name.
Jackson said he would leave the state if Gov. Schweitzer does not veto the repeal. He said he does not want to be considered a criminal overnight.
“This is the very first voter-sponsored initiative repealed by the Legislature,” Lang said. “I feel that sets a very dangerous precedent.”
House Bill 161, if signed by the governor, would end medical marijuana in Montana on July 1. “On that date I’m not going to be a happy person,” said Dennis Gulyas, a patient. “Not for myself but for all those people that are even worse conditioned than me.
“Where are they going to go?” Gulyas asked. “What are they going to do? Are they going to be a criminal?”