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Patients Unhappy With Medical Marijuana Raids

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
After a statewide raid on medical marijuana clinics, Montana legislators are debating proposed bills in Helena, and patients are left wondering what to do.

On Monday, the Drug Enforcement Administration and several other federal and state authorities raided several medical marijuana clinics throughout the state. The raids were part of an 18-month investigation into "the drug trafficking activities of criminal enterprises," according to a press release from the U.S. attorney's office. "Individuals with illnesses" who follow state law aren't being targeted, officials said.

The DEA issued 26 criminal search warrants. As of Tuesday afternoon, no charges had been filed.

Montana voters passed an initiative in 2004 legalizing medical marijuana, but it remains an illegal substance under federal law. Proponents like Barbara Trego, a medical marijuana user and employee at Montana Cannabis in Helena, said it's helped them manage their pain. Trego said she has degenerative disc disease in her back, and before using medical marijuana, she was immobile with pain and on several different kinds of prescription drugs.

Montana Cannabis was one of the clinics targeted by the DEA. Trego said officials took their entire inventory.

"It's gone. It's all gone," she said. "The medicine I've got is all I have."

Trego knows several patients like her who are worried about their supply.

"There's gonna be one heck of a shortage," she said.

Missoula City Councilwoman Cynthia Wolken is a member of the Montana branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a marijuana advocacy group. She said the clinic raids were timed suspiciously, especially now that the Montana legislature is considering bills to repeal the medical marijuana law. She called it "a pretty disgusting attempt" to influence the legislature.

One University of Montana junior, who asked to be anonymous, said he's had his green card for more than a year to treat his migraines. His caregiver wasn't shut down by Monday's raids, but he doesn't think the raids were legitimate. He'd like to see marijuana legalized and taxed.

"Even if they put a 15 to 20 percent tax, I'd still be paying less than I was [before getting a card]," he said.

House Bill 161, which would repeal the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, has been stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

NewsHawk: Jim Behr: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: Montana Kaimin (U of MT Edu)
Copyright: 2011 Montana Kaimin
Contact: opinion@montanakaimin.com
Website: Montana Kaimin
Details: MAP: Media Directory
Author: Paige Huntoon
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