SHAME ON MONTANA
Montana Lawmakers Working to Repeal Voter Initiative
Voters in Montana established legal protections for medical cannabis patients and caregivers seven years ago by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent, but some of the state’s lawmakers are now trying to repeal the initiative.
Montana’s lower chamber has passed House Bill 161, which would repeal the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law on July 1. But state Senate leaders say they lack the votes to do the same.
Patient advocates are organizing to defend their rights, with support from Americans for Safe Access. ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer will be traveling throughout the state this month, holding stakeholder meetings to build an effective grassroots strategy.
“The medical cannabis program in Montana has proven to be a solace to patients and an economic boon to communities,” said Sherer. “You don’t have to be a Montanan or even a medical cannabis advocate to be deeply concerned by this cynical attempt to overturn the will of the people.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider the House repeal bill on March 11. ASA’s first stakeholder meeting follows a vigil to be held at the capitol in Helena after the hearing.
The Judiciary Committee chairman, Sen. Terry Murphy, has said a bill to better regulate the industry is more likely to pass the Senate. He intends to appoint a sub-committee to develop such a bill this month.
As of Feb. 28, Montana had 28,739 people authorized to use medical cannabis. A year ago, there were 12,081 authorized patients; and two years ago, 2,074.
ASA’s Sherer will be participating in advocate stakeholder meetings in Helena, Kalispell, Missoula and Billings. Times and locations are:
Friday, 3/11, 3-6pm — Lewis and Clark Library, 120 S Last Chance Gulch, Helena; Saturday 3/12, 3-6pm — Red Lion Inn, 20 N Main St, Kalispell; Sunday 3/13, 1-4pm — Holiday Inn Downtown at the Park, 200 S Pattee St., Missoula; Monday 3/14, 6-9pm — Best Western Clock Tower Inn, 2511 First Ave. North, Billings.
For more information on attending one or more of the meetings, contact action@AmericansForSafeAccess.org