Montana House Bill 541

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
A Montana House committee heard a bill yesterday to decriminalize holding 30 grams or less of marijuana.

House Bill 541, introduced by Representative Brady Wiseman of Bozeman, would make it a civil infraction with a $100 fine to hold that amount of marijuana. Current law allows a criminal misdemeanor charge for holding 60 grams or less of the drug, with a fine up to $500 and jail time up to six months.

Wiseman says decriminalization will lower marijuana use in the state, and save thousands of dollars in law enforcement costs.

Representatives for the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, the Montana County Attorneys Association, the Montana Association of Chiefs of Police, and other law enforcement groups oppose the bill.

A plan to make it harder for private property to be taken over the owner's objections has stalled in a Montana House committee. T

he measure is aimed at the proposed Tongue River Railroad that would stretch south from Miles City to almost the Wyoming border. Some landowners, backed by candy magnate Forrest Mars, Junior, want to tighten eminent domain law so that they can stop the railroad from being built across their land.

Opponents said the measure, House Bill 422, would get in the way of opening a billion-tons coal deposit near Ashland to development. The railroad would also provide a new route for coal coming out of mines in Wyoming.

The measure stalled on a tied 7-7 vote in the House Federal Relations, Energy and Telecommunications Committee. Republicans in control of the Senate have also been cool toward the idea.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Chairman James Steele Jr. says that tribal interests are the same as the rest of Montana. Steele gave the State of the Tribal Nations address to Montana lawmakers yesterday.

Before his speech, the House endorsed a plan to designate the last Friday of September as a day to celebrate American Indian heritage.

teele says that economic development, education, and health care are big issues on the reservations - and in the rest of the state. He says tribes are looking at ways to help develop energy - including coal, oil, and wind. Steele says cooperative agreements between the state and the tribes can help foster development.

News Hawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: News Talk 910
Copyright: 2009 910AM KBLG
Website: NewsTalk 910 - Billings, MT - Legislative News
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