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Montana Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Repeal

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #679)
Drug War Issues

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have repealed the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law. A bill that would tightly regulate the state's medical marijuana industry and dramatically reduce the number of eligible patients remains alive.

Gov. Schweitzer heeds the will of the voters, not the legislature.
Riding a public backlash against perceived excesses by some players in the state's medical marijuana industry, both houses of the state legislature voted to approve a repeal bill, House Bill 161, sponsored by House Speaker Mike Milburn (R-Cascade) that would completely undo the 2004 ballot initiative that legalized medical marijuana in the state.

"I issue this veto of HB 161 because I do not believe it is right that 91 legislators overturn the will of the people of Montana, who passed this citizen initiative in 2004 by a significant margin," Schweitzer said in a veto statement.

Schweitzer added that he recognized that the state's medical marijuana act had evolved in ways not necessarily foreseen by voters, but insisted reform -- not repeal -- as the answer. "I believe the proper resolution of this unanticipated outcome is not outright repeal, but amendment to serve the original intent -- to provide a medicinal option for Montanans 'to alleviate the symptoms or effects of the patients' debilitating medical condition.'"

The remaining regulation bill, Senate Bill 423, a last-minute replacement of an earlier regulation bill, has been repeatedly amended and rewritten, and the House and Senate have passed two completely different versions. A conference committee from both chambers will meet to try to find common ground. They have eight days before the session ends.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, the Senate version of the bill was "imperfect," but the version passed by the House is harsh and "virtually unworkable." The group is urging its members to tell legislators to reject the House amendments.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Phil of the future (not verified)

Maybe one of the smartest things a politician could ever say: "I issue this veto of HB 161 because I do not believe it is right that 91 legislators overturn the will of the people of Montana, who passed this citizen initiative in 2004 by a significant margin," Schweitzer said in a veto statement.
Thu, 04/14/2011 - 12:46pm Permalink
Montanan (not verified)

thank goodness our governor has some compassion and common sense, cuz the teapublicans in our legislature are bat $hit crazy.

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 12:47pm Permalink
noydb (not verified)

Finally, someone who stands up for the will of the people.

attaboy Gov. Schweitzer, we need more of our elected officials to do this!!!!

This is what democracy is all about.

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 1:04pm Permalink
old vet (not verified)

you go governor ill bet he would be one of the first to agree when voters are denied their vote through ballots next they will be voting with their rifles . this is a warning made to all lawmakers by the governor  good on you mate

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 1:37pm Permalink
Plant down Babylon (not verified)

Bye Bye Mike Milburn you LOSER!

Time to represent your constituents or find another JOB!

Looks like that's what you'll be doing.....

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 3:57pm Permalink
PG (not verified)

Now there is an elected official who is doing what he is suppose to do, listen to the voters. Good job Brian.

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 7:14pm Permalink
Terry Baker (not verified)

I mean who are these legislators think they are. To even ask the Gov. to repeal a rightful vote of the people is un-american and makes it sound downright desperate to maintain their funding.

Thu, 04/14/2011 - 11:53pm Permalink
BillieBudd (not verified)

Kudos to the Governor.. I know that if the Maine Legislature started to screw around like those bozos did, there would possibly be barricades in the streets..why have voter referenda if monied interests can purchase legislators to over throw them...kind of goes against the grain of what we are lead to believe this country is all about ( not that I believe in that bullshit anymore)

Fri, 04/15/2011 - 12:48pm Permalink
ttmmjj (not verified)

Something that passes through the people should only be able to be taken away by the people. This is how our country should be. If people want to vote to repeal the law then they should by a ballot measure. It seems like regulations is the best way to go. Hey if people are abusing it then that should change. Medical Marijuana should only be given to people who would die without it or they can't have a normal quality of life. It shouldn't be given if you have stress or insomnia. Like it is here in California.

Fri, 04/15/2011 - 5:20pm Permalink

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