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Montana Senate Votes for Medical Marijuana Repeal Bill

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #678)
Drug War Issues

The Montana Senate voted 29-21 in favor of a bill, House Bill 161, repealing the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law last Thursday. It needs one more procedural vote to clear the chamber. The measure has already passed the House.

medical marijuana bags (courtesy Daniel Argo via Wikimedia)
Thursday's repeal vote came after increasingly fractious wrangling among legislators over efforts to regulate -- not repeal -- medical marijuana in Montana blew up last Wednesday. Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann (R-Billings) had crafted a bill to regulate the industry, Senate Bill 423, and that bill sailed through the Senate on a 37-13 vote. But the Senate twice failed to muster the two-thirds majority needed to suspend the rules to allow the bill to be voted on twice in one day in order to meet a legislative deadline.

That left an opening for Senate repeal advocates. After the first vote to suspend the rules on SB 423 failed, Sen. John Brendan (R-Scobey) blew the repeal bill out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it had previously been stalled on a tie vote after passing the House.

If the bill passes on the final procedural vote, it would then go to the desk of Gov. Bryan Schweitzer (D). If he were to sign the bill, that would mark the first time any medical marijuana state has turned back the clock.

But Schweitzer's signature is by no means a done deal. In previous comments on the subject, Schweitzer said he wanted to see the state's law reformed, not repealed.

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.


While I am glad they didn't pass a reform bill that arbitrarily aimed to have an eventual number of 2,000 patients instead of 30,000 or more via economic and other disincentives, I find it truly amazing that they have spent so much time and taxpayer money going in these circles and haven't even finished this year's budget yet!  But, then I guess the feds aren't doing any better.

Now that the drug war is pretty much won, I think it may be time for some of us involved with cannabis policy reform to continue working on reforming the government itself.  Clearly our "democracy" is in need of some work and re-tuning in light of twenty-first century technology.  And cannabis activists are quickly becoming the reigning experts on wielding these powerful new tools with utmost effect.  For more on this topic, please visit my site at  Any and all ideas are welcome.

Fri, 04/01/2011 - 7:41am Permalink
Norman Lepoff, M.D. (not verified)

I guess it is more important to support the drug cartels, the arrest and prosecution industries, and the prison industrial complex. The voters and the people be damned!  Please vote these arrogant hypocrites out of office, people of Montana? They do not care about you!

Thu, 04/07/2011 - 12:30pm Permalink

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