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Panel Endorses Pot Law Repeal

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
HELENA - The House Human Services Committee voted 10-5 Friday to repeal Montana's 2004 voter-passed bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana.

All of the committee's 10 Republicans voted for House Bill 161, by House Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade. All five Democrats opposed it.

The bill now heads to the House floor for debate Tuesday, barring any last-minute scheduling changes.

"I am pleased to see the Human Services Committee supports this incredibly important bill, and I look forward to it passing the full House of Representatives next week," Milburn said.

The sharply divided committee debated the bill for less than a half-hour before voting.

"This is an initiative that has gone horribly wrong," said Rep. Cary Smith, R-Billings. "This is not what the people voted for."

Smith said he was appointed to serve on an ad hoc committee by the Billings City Council to deal with the consequences of the explosive growth of medical marijuana in recent years. The city has faced problems with medical marijuana storefronts located in front of schools and churches, he said.

"We need to turn this thing off and start over," Smith said.

As of December 2010, more than 27,000 people in Montana have been authorized to use medical marijuana, an increase of 20,000 cardholders from December 2009.

Rep. Pat Noonan, D-Butte, opposed the bill.

"I have a rule that I don't vote against anything that's voted on by the voters," he said. "If we really want to repeal, I think the voters should do it."

In 2004, Montana voters passed the initiative by 62 percent to 38 percent.

Rep. Michael More, R-Gallatin Gateway, acknowledged that he had voted for the measure, thinking it would be just to help people with debilitating diseases.

"There was an element of wishful naivete on the part of those who voted this in," More said.

But the state has instead had to deal with far-reaching consequences of the initiative, including what More called "an element of licentiousness in the culture" under the law.

Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, criticized the repeal bill, saying that opponents of HB161 outnumbered its supporters by 3-to-1 at the hearing earlier this week.

"There was a lot of talk that this has increased crime rates," she said. "I didn't hear anyone with evidence."

Milburn doesn't accept the fact that marijuana works as medicine, she said, despite legislators hearing from people, including some in wheelchairs, testifying that it has helped treat their health problems.

The Missoula lawmaker said she has heard from thousands of people who support medical marijuana but want the Legislature to enact some sideboards to the bill. She urged lawmakers to instead consider the bipartisan measure approved by a legislative interim committee, House Bill 68, by Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, which would add regulations.

"They don't think the current law is what people voted for," she said. "They voted for safe access to medical marijuana. They want us to put some training wheels on."

Tom Daubert, an author and campaign manager for the 2004 initiative, criticized the committee action.

"For legislators who rejected proposals to improve the law in '07 and '09 to now rush to repeal rather than to fix a compassionate policy passed by the people in record numbers is a tragedy for patients and an insult to the Montana values of freedom and democracy," said Daubert, who heads a group called Patients & Families United. "Consensus solutions to the law's problems exist. But redefining thousands of suffering Montanans as criminals is not a solution, nor is it morally justifiable."

Besides Sands' HB68, there is another major medical marijuana bill, Senate Bill 154, by Sen. Dave Lewis, R-Helena, that would also set up state licensing and regulation of the medical marijuana businesses. Sands' bill would impose licensing fees to pay for the regulation, while Lewis' measure would levy a tax.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)
Copyright: 2011 The Billings Gazette
Contact: BillingsGazette.com - Contact Us
Website: The Billings Gazette - Montana & Wyoming News
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Author: Charles S. Johnson

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New Member
How can they repeal something that the voters made law? Isn't there some kind of rule or something that protects the voters interest?
What happens now to the legal mmj growers, patients? Now they have to go back to the black market? Those people that started businesses, and invested money into it and hard work, now they will just be out of a job?


Active Member
How can they repeal something that the voters made law? Isn't there some kind of rule or something that protects the voters interest?
They can because the U.S.A. is a fascist dictatorship owned by rich polititians.
Makes me very sad.



New Member
I mean absolutely no offence by this but as one not from the US it is hard for me to see where this concept known as "The American Dream" actually exists in todays reality. Is it just that, a dream, a carrot being dangled for as long you shall be fit to pay taxes, and if you're not, well thats just seems to be tuff luck...looks to me like something somewhere went horribly wrong, which is a shame because although I've never been, I believe the US to have some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator

420 News

New Member
I don't believe in it at all. Never have. Will never, unless by some miracle the government here gets fired.
It just boggles the mind. The government says Oh get out and vote and politicians spend millions of dollars trying to get elected. Yet when it's all said and done, our vote obviously means nothing at all. The voters in this State voted in a landslide for mmj, now the politicians are just going to turn it over? How?? It's just another huge slap in the face to the People of this country. How many more slaps do we have to take, before we can slap them back?

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New Member
I saw this quote in another article. Made me think of this one.
"In most cases state and federal constitutional protections prohibit local governments from retroactively enforcing new regulations on businesses who had previously complied with the old standards."
If that is the case, can that somehow be an "out of the box" way of defending the care centers that will go out of business when Montana crooks (politicians, crooks, 1,000 at the bottom of the sea is a good start, etc) repeal the law and force them out of business? Right? Somehow, there is an idea here. I'm not smart enough to realize it, but someone is. You. Find the pertinence in this law, and then email that to someone in Montana so they can fight this thing on Constitutional grounds and win!! Thanks.
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