|Cannabis Now Magazine|
Losing Legal Status and Providers, Suffering Patients Plead for Voters to Oppose IR-124
As Montana fully implements Senate Bill 423 after a June 2011 injunction was lifted by the state Supreme Court on Wednesday, the vast majority of currently legal patients are losing their rights. The state’s data show that 5,598 patients will now lose their status as registered, legal medical users of marijuana.
“This new action by the state is like a spike in the heart to thousands of suffering patients,” said Bob Brigham, campaign manager for Patients for Reform, Not Repeal. “Only now is the full, devastating impact of SB 423 becoming apparent. It’s hurting the very kinds of patients Montana voters most want to help.”
|Bob Brigham, Patients For Reform Not Repeal: “This new action by the state is like a spike in the heart to thousands of suffering patients”|
“The only good news,” Brigham added, “is that this heartless, unworkable law is on the ballot and voters can do something about it. On IR-124, voting against SB 423 will help patients and force the Legislature to develop better regulation.”
The state Department of Health and Human Services is sending out notices to patients on Monday, terminating their legal status. Most are being terminated because they shared medical marijuana providers, while SB 423 limits the number of patients any legal provider may serve to three.
To regain their rights, these thousands of patients will need to fully reapply to the program, including naming new providers. Many patients are expected to be surprised and unprepared for the change.
Finding new providers – people willing to grow marijuana for patients despite a new prohibition on reimbursement – is expected to be difficult, and it will take many months for those who can manage to grow for themselves to begin producing the medical marijuana they need.
Meanwhile, under SB 423 it is literally illegal for any of these suffering patients to obtain seeds or plants.
“The truth is, while everyone knows SB 423 is a bad, unworkable law, we haven’t really lived under it yet,” Brigham said. “Only now is the damage to patients becoming clear. Voters can do something about it by voting against SB 423 on IR-124.”