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State Should Follow Law OK'D By Voters


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I testified at a recent public hearing in opposition to a proposal by the Department of Corrections to ban medical marijuana for patients who are on probation. After reading the opinion essay by Pam Bunke in the Jan. 17 Gazette, I reread the department's proposed rule. I can find not a shred of truth in Bunke's essay. Contrary to all her claims, the department's rule is a blanket ban that offers no routes for appeal and makes no exceptions in respect to a doctor's professional opinion.

The department has already been imposing this rule even though it hasn't adopted it. Patients on probation have been denied access to the medical marijuana their doctors recommend. This has happened in spite of protests by the doctors, and never has the department advised any of the patients that there might be any possibility of an exception. At best, patients have been told that their only recourse is to first dare to violate the department's ban and then take their chances in court.

I find it unconscionable that the Department of Corrections is so blatantly violating Montana's medical-marijuana law. This is an absurd waste of taxpayer dollars. Right now, people with serious medical conditions are suffering because of this. Keep in mind that our law's approved "qualifying conditions" for medical marijuana - like multiple sclerosis, cancer, glaucoma and chronic pain resulting from varied awful circumstances - occur in the lives of all kinds of people, including Democrats, Republicans and, yes, even people on probation or parole.

Source: Billings Gazette, The (MT)
Copyright: 2008 The Billings Gazette
Contact: speakup@billingsgazette.com
Website: BillingsGazette.com ::
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