Marijuana Dispensary Owner Urges Montana: Stand Up To Feds


Potspot 411

​It’s time for Montana to stand up to the federal government over medical marijuana, just as it has over other states’ rights issues, a medical marijuana dispensary owner told a news conference on Thursday.

“You’ll go against them for wolves, you’ll go against them for buffalo, you’ll go against them for guns, but (for) marijuana, there’s no backbone in the state,” said Randy Leibenguth, who ran MCM Caregivers until it was raided by federal agents in March, reports Charles S. Johnson of the Helena Independent Record. “I think our state needs to have the backbone and stand up for this.”
“Without the Legislature’s backing wholeheartedly, we’re sitting there with our butts in the wind until something is written that works for everyone,” Leibenguth said.

Randy Leibenguth, MCM Caregivers: “I think our state needs to have the backbone and stand up for this.”

​MCM Caregivers was one of more than two dozen medical marijuana businesses raided by federal agents in March. Leibenguth hasn’t been indicted, but he said his business was essential destroyed by the raid.
He was one of the speakers at the final day of a conference on medical marijuana sponsored by the Burton K. Wheeler Center of Bozeman. The conference drew a crowd of legislators, marijuana industry people, law enforcement, local politicians and others.
A number of speakers at the conference talked about the Obama Administration’s Justice Department sending changing and conflicting signals to the 16 states and the District of Columbia which have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes.
An overwhelming 62 percent of Montanans passed a 2004 initiative allowing marijuana for medical purposes. After a 2009 Ogden Memo from an assistant attorney general indicating the federal government wouldn’t pursue those who were obeying state medical marijuana laws, the number of Montana cardholders went up sevenfold.
After SB 423, a strict crackdown on medical marijuana in the state, was passed by the conservative Republican-controlled Legislature this year, the numbers started to fall again. As of August 31, there were about 26,492 medical marijuana patients in Montana, down about 16 percent from three months earlier.
Federal agents raided more than two dozen marijuana businesses during the 2011 session of the Legislature, including Leibenguth’s dispensary. 
Leibenguth said he would not recommend anyone starting a medical marijuana business in Montana now. If someone grows cannabis, he said, it should be a tiny operation, for instance a spouse growing for a spouse, to avoid the possibility of more federal raids.
He said he would not submit his fingerprints to the state to meet new requirements to operate a dispensary, because they would inevitably go to the same federal government that considers marijuana illegal for any purpose.