Montana Medical Marijuana Act Repeal (2010)

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The Montana Medical Marijuana Act Repeal, also known as I-165, did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in the state of Montana as an initiated state statute. The measure, being sponsored by Cherrie Brady, was submitted to the Montana Secretary of State on May 25, 2010. The initiative would have allowed voters to decide whether or not to repeal the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, which legalized medical marijuana in the state. The law that the measure was hoping to repeal was approved in 2004, when voters approved it with a vote of 276,042 (61.8%) to 170,579 (38.2). On June 7, 2010, it was reported that the group spearheading the initiative effort had a week or less to collected the number of signatures to qualify it for the ballot. The measure's sponsors did not collect enough signatures for the ballot.[1][2][3][4]

Text of measure

Ballot language

The ballot language of the measure read:[5]

I-165 repeals the Montana Medical Marijuana Act adopted by voter initiative in 2004.

[ ] FOR repealing the Montana Medical Marijuana Act.

[ ] AGAINST repealing the Montana Medical Marijuana Act

Support

Supporters

  • Safe Community, Safe Kids had been collecting signatures in lieu of the June 18, 2010 deadline. According to Pam Christianson, a member of the group, "It's about our kids, but it's also about our state and what it says to other states in the country, we know we have bars and casinos, but we don't need to add this to street corners either."[6]
  • Resident Gina McQueen, who signed the petition, stated, "I think that the legalization of marijuana is not a good moral choice. I think that I need to stand up for what I feel is right so that my kids will look back and someday know where I stand morally and I think that eventually the legalization of it is what's going to come next."[8]
  • Another Resident, Boyd Strissel, stated that stricter regulations were expected when this law was passed. According to Strissel, who also signed the petition, "I think they've been mislead and the I way I feel this stuff should be prescribed by a doctor and with a prescription for each and every time they get it and make it a little tougher to get it."

Arguments

  • Andrew Paul, deputy Missoula County Attourney, stated that high demand for the medical drug in the state had made dispensaries and caregivers resort to out of state black market drug dealers. According to the 2004 law that was passed by voters, caregivers were supposed to grow their own supply of marijuana for patients. According to Paul, "I am certain that many local dispensaries do not grow enough medical marijuana to support their sales, so it seems that drug dealers have prospered from the sale of this medicine. All I can really tell you is that it's happening. Every single day marijuana is being brought to Montana from out of state to supply caregivers and their dispensaries." Paul was basing his arguments off of reports from agents at Montana's High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas task force.[9]

Rallies, tactics and strategies

  • The Montana Legislature had planned to hear multiple ideas regarding the marijuana law and the changes that could be made to it. A legislative interim committee will be absorbing and considering those ideas, including restriction son medical marijuana on school properties in the state and more regulations on where the drug was grown, which had to be in Montana. The ideas, according to reports, were to come from local governments, law enforcement officials and school officials, as well as representatives of medical marijuana caregivers. Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer stated that the law would be closely monitored and the ideas presented would be watched and considered.[10]
  • In Great Falls, a ban was set on any land use for growing and selling medical marijuana, setting up a lawsuit between three patients and the city. The lawsuit was filed on June 22, 2010 in the state District Court in Cascade County. The patients that filed the lawsuit were Algy Thain, David Sears and Kraig Jackson, who stated that the decision to ban the land use prohibited them from growing their own medical marijuana for their medical needs. The three patients also stated that the ban mad it difficult to obtain the drug from other places.[11]

Opposition

Opponents

  • Medical marijuana caregiver Mark Higgins disagreed with the initiative to repeal the medical marijuana law, stating, "There's no need to repeal it and to make people have to suffer. It's like here you can have your candy; oh we're taking it away! You can't do that to people! You just can't mess with their lives that way!."[8]

Path to the ballot

See also Laws governing the initiative process in Montana

The initiative campaign needed to collect 24,337 signatures by the June 18, 2010 petition drive deadline in order to qualify the measure for the ballot. The group received permission to gather signatures on June 11, 2010 by the Montana Secretary of State, leaving a week to gather those signatures. According to one initiative organizer, Cherrie Brady, "Thirty thousand signatures in a week is a huge undertaking. But my personal feeling is, if you educate Montanans on what is happening, those signatures will come rolling in.” Brady stated that the effort had multiple people working on collecting signatures across the state.[12][13]

Reports out of Montana were saying that the measure's sponsors were uncertain, but hopeful, that they had collected enough signatures to qualify it for the ballot. Counties had until July 16, 2010 to send verified signatures to the Montana Secretary of State's office, where the Secretary of State may or may not qualify it for the ballot, pending another review of signatures. However, the measure's sponsors did not have enough signatures to qualify it for the ballot.[14][4]

See also

External links

References