While we have focused a lot on Washington and Colorado’s efforts to legalize marijuana for healthy adults this year, and while Oregon continues to push two initiatives to do the same, we would be remiss in not mentioning the IR-124 effort in Montana to undo the ghastly “repeal lite” that was rammed through the legislature last year.
It’s kind of confusing for Montanans because getting back to their original medical marijuana law requires a NO vote on IR-124. As a referendum, it is asking voters to approve the SB 423 “repeal lite” bill the legislature passed, so voters have to reject IR-124 to return to the good medical marijuana law they used to have.
Already the passage of SB 423 has decimated Montana’s medical marijuana program. In June of 2011, there were 30,036 patients; today there are 10,640. There are no providers for patients in 24 of the 56 counties in the state. Here are some more problems with IR-124:
- It makes it much harder for cancer patients, or people with glaucoma or AIDS to even qualify for medical marijuana.
- Seriously ill patients must grow their own marijuana or force someone to grow it for them. The bill provides no other way to get it.
- It literally provides no legal way for patients or providers to obtain plants or seeds to grow. IR-124 is designed not to work for anyone, and reinvigorates a “black market” – the opposite of what voters intended.
- Doctors say the new requirements are much harder to follow, much harder than regular prescription drugs. Some doctors say they will simply stop recommending medical marijuana.
- Patients will have a hard time finding growers to help them. People who agree to grow marijuana for a patient must go through background checks, including by the FBI. With federal agents busting providers all over Montana, who will register with the FBI as a marijuana grower?