With nearly 70% of Montana’s precincts reporting, I-182 has a commanding 12 percent lead. I think it’s safe to say at this point that Montana voters have voted to legalize medical marijuana for a second time. To be fair, medical marijuana would have still been legal if the initiative had failed, but in a skeleton form of what Montana once had in place. Montana’s victory makes it a clean sweep for medical cannabis during the 2016 Election.
When it comes to medical marijuana policy, Montana is a funky place. If you have read my articles over the years, I’m sure you have heard me say that before. One of my best friends lives in Montana, and moved there shortly after Montana legalized medical marijuana (2004). Montana once had a thriving medical marijuana scene, with safe access points all over the place and really good medicine all over the place for people to trade for no consideration.
That all changed in 2011 when the Montana Legislature essentially gutted the program. A challenge at the Montana Supreme Court level was unsuccessful. So voters took matters into their own hands. I’m happy to say that Montana voters approved I-182, which will restore the program back to it’s old glory. This vote is significant in that it sends a message to the Montana Legislature to back off once and for all. The voters have spoken loud and clear. Below is a summary of the initiative (the full text of the initiative can be found here):
I-182 establishes a responsible and accountable medical marijuana program, giving access to those who legitimately need the drug.
Montanans want a responsible, accountable law allowing access to medical marijuana for those battling cancer or with other debilitating illnesses. Our friends and loved ones suffering from such ailments deserve the choice of safe, legal relief that marijuana provides. After all, patients and doctors are not criminals. The new medical marijuana initiative addresses concerns over the previous law and ensures accountability to all Montanans by:
• Requiring providers obtain licenses and receive unannounced yearly inspections.
• Creating licensing fees to administer the program, ensuring no negative impact to the Montana state budget.
• Removing the restrictions limiting providers to only three patients.
• Allowing for product testing in a certified lab to ensure safety, consistency and accurate dosages.
• Removing obstacles for patients diagnosed with chronic pain.
• Providing access to veterans and other patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).