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Medical Marijuana Advocates Rally for Support

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HELENA, Mont. -- Despite the fact that Governor Schweitzer declared his intentions to let Senate Bill 423 pass without his signature, that didn't stop medical marijuana advocates from rallying at the capitol building in Helena on Saturday.

"We want open access for patients, fair and equal access for all patients to be able to use medical marijuana," said Mark Higgins, who serves as the Montana Ambassador for the Americans for Safer Access. Higgins, who is also a caregiver out of Billings, helped organize the rally so that citizens could voice their concerns.

With SB 423, many patients will no longer be able to medicate with marijuana. Anyone with chronic pain will need to seek opinions from two doctors rather than just one, and caregivers will be limited to having three patients. Providers won't be able to make a profit from selling the medication. Those patients who don't have a caregiver will have to grow it themselves.

Patient Valerie Hellermann's husband is a caregiver, and she said that one of his patients- who medicates with cannabis to help with her cancer during chemotherapy- will probably have to stop using medical marijuana due to the changes under SB 423. "There's no way that [her family] could start a grow room to grow medical marijuana to relieve her suffering."

Hellermann, who medicates with marijuana herself to relieve pain from a near-fatal car accident that crushed her legs, says that without medical marijuana, she would have to use prescription medications such as Morphine or OxyContin. Those drugs, she says, keep her from being able to function in society. "I can't do it with narcotics. Medical cannabis allows me to function quite well, and I'm able to participate and hold a job."

With issues like these in mind, medical marijuana supporters approached the podium at the rally, and walked along the street with their signs and posters. With phrases like "PATIENTS NOT CRIMINALS!" and "MEXICO OR MONTANA- WHERE DO YOU WANT YOUR MONEY TO GO?" the signs and its holders aimed at raising awareness over their concerns.

"We'd just like to strongly encourage the governor to look at the constitutional issues still contained in 423," said Nathan Pierce, president of the Montana Cannabis Industrial Association. Pierce added that if Schweitzer doesn't change his mind about not making that veto, then the association will immediately begin writing a referendum that could potentially suspend SB 423 and render it inoperative. The issue will then be placed once again into voters' hands in the 2012 elections.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: nbcmontana.com
Author: Lauren Maschmedt
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Bonten Media Group
Website: Medical Marijuana Advocates Rally for Support
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