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Montana mulls new medical measure

Posted on January 28th, 2011 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

cannabisOn Jan. 21, more than 100 people came out to Montana's capitol building in Helena for hearings on on what the state's new medicinal cannabis policy should look like. Ironically, a bill pending in the state house is opposed by cannabis advocates as well as those who want to repeal the 2004 state ballot initiative that legalized medical use.

More than 70 people testified for or against House Bill 68, sponsored by Rep. Diane Sands (D-Missoula) in the three-hour hearing before the House Human Services Committee. HB68 would create a tiered licensing system, require criminal background checks for people who grow and sell medical cannabis, require two physicians to sign off before a patient can be authorized to use cannabis, give local governments the authority to regulate the industry, and ban the smoking of medical cannabis in public.

Doctors would have to have an office in Montana and couldn't have financial ties to the medical cannabis industry. These steps were aimed at stopping mobile "cannabis caravans," in which doctors saw dozens of patients at brief appointments to issue recommendations for medical cannabis. (420 Times, Jan. 22; The Missoulan, Jan. 21)

In a case being hailed as the "Montana Mutiny," a group of prospective jurors in Missoula vocally dissented from the state's prosecution of felony cannabis sale defendant Teuray Cornell. All told, five jurors said they had ethical problems with cannabis prosecution. Prosecutors tried to cut a deal to dismiss the misdemeanor possession charge against Cornell out of fear that they would not be able to find 12 jurors to convict. Cornell did plead guilty to the felony, but his case pleased cannabis advocates nationwide. Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said that juror objections to drug laws are "popping up more and more," especially with regard to cannabis. (NYT, Dec. 23)

Photo by the Mad Pothead

 

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