by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
Montana voters will decide this November on a statewide initiative to restore and expand elements of the state’s medical cannabis program.
The Secretary of State’s office has affirmed that initiative proponents, Montana Citizens for I-182, submitted sufficient signatures from registered voters to qualify the measure for the November ballot.
The Montana Medical Marijuana Act (I-182) amends the state’s existing law to expand the pool of patients eligible to access cannabis therapy and removes certain restrictions on recommending physicians and providers. The measure also establishes a regulatory scheme overseeing the testing and distribution of medical cannabis products.
Montana voters initially approved ballot initiative language in 2004 authorizing qualified patients to possess and grow medical marijuana. In 2011, lawmakers passed legislation significantly revising the law. This spring, members of the Montana Supreme Court upheld several of those amendments, including provisions that called for additional oversight for physicians who recommend cannabis therapy to more than 25 patients annually, and permitting law enforcement to engage in warrantless inspections of the premises of marijuana providers.
Voters this November will also decide on separate statewide medical use measures in Arkansas, Florida, and Missouri.
Initiatives to permit the adult use of cannabis are pending in Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. A Michigan initiative remains in litigation.
Summaries and status of pending 2016 statewide initiatives is available from NORML’s Take Action Center here.