Newsbrief: Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative Ready for Signature Gathering 4/23/04

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The Montana Secretary of State's office and the Montana Attorney General's office have approved the language and legal sufficiency of a medical marijuana initiative. The way is now open for initiative organizers with the Montana Medical Marijuana Policy Project (http://www.montanacares.org) to begin the signature-gathering phase of the effort. Organizers must gather some 20,000 signatures, including at least 5% of voters in half of the state's counties, by June 18.

The Montana Medical Marijuana Act, which would amend state law and which will be known as Initiative 148 (I-148), would:

  • Allow terminally and seriously ill patients who find relief from marijuana to use it with their doctors' approval.
  • Protect these seriously ill patients from arrest and prosecution for the simple act of taking their medicine.
  • Permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to cultivate their own marijuana for their medical use, with limits on the amount they could possess.
  • Create registry identification cards, so that law enforcement officials could easily tell who was a registered patient, and establish penalties for false statements and fraudulent ID cards.
  • Allow patients and their caregivers who are arrested to discuss their medical use in court.
  • Keep commonsense restrictions on the medical use of marijuana, including prohibitions on public use of marijuana and driving under the influence of marijuana.
Under the ballot measure, patients could use marijuana under medical supervision for a list of specified illnesses (cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS), as well as other conditions or treatments that produce wasting, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe muscle spasms, or other conditions defined by the state.

Visit http://www.montanacares.org/pdf/MT_Init_148_2004.pdf to read the text of the ballot measure online.

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