Pubdate: Mon, 30 May 2011
Source: Helena Independent Record (MT)
Copyright: 2011 Helena Independent Record


The controversy over the whether medical cannabis should be legal,
and/or how legal it should be, continues to simmer. Voters in our
unscientific online poll this week were somewhat split on our Question
of the Week, which asked, "Should the State of Montana continue to
issue medical cannabis cards while the fate of the bill tightening
regulation of the industry remains uncertain?"

As of late Friday afternoon, 179 votes were cast saying the state
should continue to issue cards, while 129 votes had been counted in
the opposite column.

Here's a sampling of what those who took time to comment on the
question said about the issue:

- - "There are a handful of Constitutional problems with this new law
and it will almost certainly be overturned. There really is no point
in punishing sick people trying to satisfy people who won't be anyway.
The creation of new regulation should have been left in the hands of
DPHHS to begin with. They submitted a proposal that would have worked
very well to solve the few problems with the current law and it was
rejected by lawmakers determined to repeal medical marijuana. Essman
and his sorry crew have nobody but themselves to blame for this fiasco
and I have a feeling voters will call them to account for wasting so
much money and time in 2012."

- - "No. Will Rogers once said, "If you find yourself in a hole, stop
digging." If Montana continues to issue medical marijuana cards with
ever shrinking supplies of product to buy, market forces will drive
the cost beyond that of legal prescription pain medications. Will
Rogers may have been wrong."

- - "Yes. Why should the people who submitted applications before the
new law passed be denied their legal rights? These patients followed
all the laws."

- - "Of course the state should be processing the applications that came
in before the new law took effect. The law was so vague it wasn't
clear to patients when its various provisions started. What's more, it
states current cards are valid for another year. What else are they
supposed to do with the cards that were partially processed under the
old law."

- - "If the people who are dispensers of this drug are being shut down,
then the person who is in charge of issuing cards should be arrested
or lose their job."

- - "Yes. The new reforms to the medical marijuana laws do not go into
effect until July 1. New patient cards should be processed and
provided at least until that date comes and goes. If a lawsuit to stop
the legislation is in the works, which I believe is under way, then
the processing of cards for medical marijuana use should continue
while the litigation is being considered."

- - "What part of the law do people not understand? Like it or not the
Legislature enacted a bill and it became law upon passage and
approval. It is not up to the bureaucrats to ignore the statute and
continue issuing cards. It is their job to stop issuing cards as the
law states. This is another example of what is wrong with medical
marijuana in that apparently the users of the federally illegal
substance and those who are supposed to enforce the law think they
don't have to play by the rules. The arrogance will stop once the
silent majority of Montana voters stand up again and repeal this farce."

- - "The Montana Legislature has once again determined, in its eternal
wisdom, to overturn the will of the people as expressed in our passage
of the medical marijuana law. The people are fighting back, with
lawsuits and a renewed attempt to place medical marijuana on the
ballot. Until this issue is resolved, it would be both cruel and
impractical to discontinue the issuance and renewal of medical
marijuana cards issued under a democratically instituted law. What the
legislators seem not to understand is that marijuana is, as it always
has been, readily available on our streets and in our schools. Those
who are taking advantage of our compassion for the sick will not
suffer, but the new law will cause great harm to legitimate users of
medical marijuana. The law is badly written, hastily passed and
foolishly misguided. As a health care provider, I am ashamed at the
heartlessness displayed by my state's leaders, and hope they will find
an ounce of real compassion and! love for their fellow man. And if
they do not, we will remember their names the next time we stand at
the ballot box." 
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MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.