Posts filed under ‘Montana’

Montanta Readies for a Step Forward… and a Step Back?

In Montana, two bills are being proposed to change the state medicinal marijuana policy – one for the better, and one for the worse.

House Bill 73 seeks to expand the use of medicinal marijuana by allowing physicians assistants and nurse practitioners to prescribe marijuana. (For comparison, nurse practitioners can currently prescribe the same prescription drugs that a psychiatrist can).

Senate Bill 212 seeks to disqualify permanently from the medicinal marijuana program any person who is found operating a motor vehicle with any trace amount of THC in their bloodstream. This is a completely ridiculous proposal, as trace THC can be found in the bloodstream for days after use, and it does not by any stretch mean that the person is operating while under the influence.

Both bills are being discussed this week, so call your representative and senator and voice your support for House Bill 73 and your opposition to Senate Bill 212. As always, contact information can be fount at www.votesmart.org Here are two short sample scripts:

Dear ________ (name of state representative),

I am calling to voice my support for House Bill 73. Medicinal marijuana is currently available as a prescription medication, and I feel that all professionals licensed to prescribe such medication – including physicians assistants and nurse practitioners – should be allowed to do so. Cannabis has many documented medicinal properties, and as many people as possible should have the option of this form of treatment for their ailments if they need it.

Dear __________ (name of state senator),

I am calling to voice my strong opposition to Senate Bill 212. Operating under the influence is dangerous, but this bill targets any person who has smoked cannabis within the past two weeks, regardless of whether or not they are still under the influence. We do not charge a person with driving under the influence of alcohol or punish them otherwise simply for having consumed alcohol within the last two weeks, and, likewise, we should not punish someone for operating a motor vehicle when they are not under the influence.

Call soon to make sure that your voice is heard.

January 21, 2009 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Why Medicinal Use Matters

The reasons for supporting marijuana policy reform are as many and varied as there are advocates of marijuana policy reform. Medicinal use is only one, but right now, it is a very important one.

I find it hard to believe that there can be any significant change in marijuana policy without a change in the way law-abiding patients acting with a prescription are treated. Currently, patients in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington are subject to federal prosecution and violent raids by the DEA. At least they’re safe under state law, right?

Not so fast. According to a recent ruling by the California Supreme Court, people who supply marijuana to patients with a prescription are still subject to arrest as if they were drug dealers.

That’s funny – I thought the whole point of legalizing medicinal use was that medicinal use would be, you know, no longer a crime.

And therein lies the problem. How can we expect people to decriminalize marijuana on a wide scale – let alone legalize it- when law enforcement fails to recognize its use as a legitimate medicine?

Maybe I should clarify that: they recognize that marijuana is a legitimate medicine… they just believe that legal distribution and use of a medicine is a crime, even with a prescription and license.

In Michigan, the initiative to legalize medicinal marijuana received a greater portion of the vote than Obama did. (The same holds for the Massachusetts initiative to decriminalize small possession, and I am convinced that, had Massachusetts instead held a vote on medicinal use, it would have passed with over 70% of the vote.) It is no secret that a disproportionately large proportion of the elderly vote, compared to their children/grandchildren, and these voters are more likely to be sympathetic to medicinal use for ailments such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and others. These voters are less likely to support decriminalization or legalization for personal use (though as many as 70% in Massachusetts were polled as supporting decriminalization as well).

Once people accept marijuana as a medicine – thereby accepting that has beneficial properties – they are more likely to adjust their view of marijuana as a ‘dangerous, corruptive, gateway drug’ and start seeing it as it truly is.

We have reports of legislative efforts in Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York already, and it is very easy to start a campaign in your home state if there isn’t already one. (Contact us if you have any questions). It is key at this point to show strong support for state legislation legalizing medicinal marijuana, and it is also a very winnable battle, so let’s get to it!

January 5, 2009 at 5:03 am Leave a comment


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