Montana News

Apr 27, 2011 12:00 PM by Marnee Banks (KXLH Helena)

Montana Medical Marijuana Act headed to Governor's desk

HELENA- The Montana Marijuana Act is headed to Governor Brian Schweitzer's desk after both Houses of the Legislature passed, in a third reading, a bill which regulates the medical marijuana industry on Wednesday morning.

The bill passed the House with a final vote of 70-30 while the Senate endorsed the measure with a 33-17 vote.

Here are some highlights from the Montana Marijuana Act:

  1. The law repeals the existing Montana Medical Marijuana Act.
  2. Lawmakers specified a list of debilitating medical conditions which qualify for a medical marijuana card.
  3. They defined a standard of care that doctors must comply with to issue a card. The bill now prohibits telemedicine.
  4. Lawmakers placed regulatory authority with the Department of Health.
  5. The committee limited the number of plants a card-holder can have to 4 mature plants, 12 seedlings and 1 oz of usable marijuana.
  6. The amended bill defines chronic pain and forces a patient to either have proof of pain or have 2 doctors certify a chronic pain patient.
  7. The bill also allows patients to reimburse their provider for registration fees.
  8. The bill prohibits patients from paying cash for their medical marijuana, providers must volunteer to grow the plant.

Schweitzer said during a visit to Missoula on Monday that he hoped the Legislature would act on the bill quickly so that he would have time to make changes and send it back to lawmakers.

The Democrat also stated that he was going to make sure legitimate patients still have the option to use cannabis.

"Many people have suggested that this has become so restrictive that people that have actual medical needs for cannabis may be excluded from the process. So we want to look at it very closely and make sure that we're not locking the door on people that have actual medical needs for cannabis," Schweitzer explained.

Click here to read the full text of Senate Bill 423.

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