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Medical Marijuana Regulation Controversy Plays out in Helena Courtroom

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The controversy surrounding medical marijuana in Montana is far from over, even though the 62nd Legislature passed Senate Bill 423 without the Governor's signature.

The new medical marijuana law allows patients to grow the drug for themselves and up to three people, putting providers out of business by prohibiting them to make a profit and placing strict guildlines on patients and doctors.

The bill's passage coincided with several high-profile raids conducted by the DEA and FBI and in May the Montana Cannabis Industry Association filed an injunction, trying to halt it from becoming law.

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association's attorney James Goetz is asking Helena District Judge James Reynolds to block the newly passed Montana Marijuana Act before it goes into affect July 1st.

"We have raised a number of constitutional deficiencies," says Goetz. He says one of his key issues with the law is that it denies patients access to medical marijuana.

"Marijuana, while not completely harmless is remarkably safe and it has proven medicinal qualities. If a Montana citizen in consultation with his or her doctor wishes to have access to medical marijuana that person should have such access without undo governmental restraint," adds Goetz.

But the state is asking the court to deny the motion for a preliminary injunction and says the lawsuit is aimed at preserving a commercial marijuana industry. "This is a case make no mistake about it about this question must the state of Montana allow a commercial marijuana industry to exist in the state," says Assistant Attorney General Jim Molloy.

The plaintiff's brought forward several medical professionals via video teleconference, strengthening their arguments of the law's restricted access and the medical benefits of cannabis.

"Eventually marijuana is going to be recognized as a wonder drug just like penicillin was in 1941," says Harvard Professor Dr. Lester Grinspoon.

"Our patients are so incredibly disabled that the time they need marijuana they couldn't possibly grow for themselves," says Oncologist Specialist Wendy Gwinner.

While medical marijuana stakeholders claim the law is an excessive government intrusion into the lives of Montanans, the defense says Senate Bill 423 reigns in a booming industry and returns Montana's medical marijuana law to what voters wanted in 2004.

"I don't believe for one second that the people who, 21,000 cards with that diagnosis are all people who meet that kind of a situation, the situation that was intended by I-148," adds Molloy. In May there were more then 30,000 medical marijuana cardholders in Montana, 30% of Montana's total users are between the ages of 18 and 30 and claim they need marijuana to treat chronic pain.

Judge Reynolds expressed concern over what would happen to medical cannabis regulations if the new law were to be blocked, testimony continues Tuesday as the trial is set to wrap up tomorrow.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: kfbb.com
Author: Kacey Drescher
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Max Media of Montana
Website: Medical Marijuana Regulation Controversy Plays out in Helena Courtroom: Group Asking Judge to Block New Law
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