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Medical Marijuana Growers Grappling With Next Steps

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The bill passed by the state legislature, reforming the legal use of medical marijuana, moves one day closer to becoming reality.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer has said he will allow the bill to become law without his signature. Meanwhile, the cannabis community is working hard to protect their livelihoods.

Marijuana grower and caregiver Mike Nelson says he's been waking up everyday feeling a mental tug-of-war.

"I don't know whether to plan for a total shutdown, whether to plan around possible changes that are still feasible out there. What do you do, which do you plan for?" Nelson said.

If Senate Bill 423 passes into law, Nelson's Greener Pastures and all other medical marijuana businesses must cease to operate July 1.

At least one group of caregivers is filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB 423. Others are planning a referendum for the November ballot to get their businesses back.

Nelson says he's waiting and cutting back his large inventory, which currently serves hundreds of patients.

"Every week we have less and less in the facility," he said.

Last month he began letting go employees.

"We let go four employees. Two weeks ago we let go three employees, next week we let go two employees," he said.

Montana Medical Growers Association Executive Director Jim Gingery predicts Senate Bill 423 will result in 10,000 lost jobs across the state-a serious economic shock.

But not everyone is opposed to Senate Bill 423. One Gallatin Valley woman is very happy with the passage of SB 423.

She asked us not to air her face or her voice to protect the identity of her teenage son, a former straight A student she says now is in a rehabilitation program for marijuana.

"He admitted to me, marijuana is controlling his life," she says.

She blames the medical marijuana industry.

"Honestly, the first time he ever had it was from someone who has a card," she said.

This mother says smoking marijuana has become a big thing at his high school. She's glad for any law that reduces the image she says these businesses put forth - that marijuana is good for you.

To the economic argument, she answers the treatment program her son's in right now is costing her at least $18,000, a bill not covered by insurance.

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association is planning to sue the state to stop Senate Bill 423. The group plans to hire attorney Jim Goetz of Bozeman to represent them.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: kxlf.com
Author: Dan Boyce
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: KXLF.com
Website: Medical marijuana growers grappling with next steps as medical marijuana bill moves closer to reality
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