Medical marijuana restrictions contested

By ADAM SCHREUDER/Montana State News

Unlike the 23 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized medical marijuana, Montana maintains its illegality.  The efforts to keep medical marijuana available to patients have been ongoing since 2011, when legislators restricted caregivers to a three patient maximum.  This tight restriction forced many caregivers out of business and sent many patients back to pharmaceutical remedies.

“I just don’t know if I can deal with those side effects again. I don’t feel like myself when I’m on a constant cocktail of Oxycontin and Valium, or whatever antibiotics they think works these days,” said Trevor Swahn, a victim of Crohn’s disease.

Although legislators technically restricted the availability of marijuana in 2011, activists continually delayed the restriction through legal  appeals until .  Medical marijuana supporters were not shocked that the procrastination tool of appeals was eventually defeated by the legislature, but they are now faced with the reality of taking the now illegal industry back underground.

In an effort to keep medical marijuana within legal realms, Jim Goetz from the Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MTCIA) filed a motion for reconsideration of the Montana Supreme Court decision on March 11.  Although the motion was opposed on March 15, the Department of Public Health and Human Services admitted that it will take some time to adjust to these new restrictions.

Medical marijuana supporters have been pushing MTCIA to take action since 2011. They have urged them to propose a motion to the state that would effectively tax marijuana, and redistribute the wealth into schools and other institutions that could benefit from extra finances.

Goetz plans to formulate an appeal and present it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the clock is ticking, given that there are only 90 days available to appeal the restrictions on medical marijuana. Goetz has a history of success with the Supreme Court.  According to the MTCIA website, Goetz has had three cases accepted by the Supreme Court, and argued two cases before that.

Edited by Brittany Wallace

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