Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance, Measure I-148 (2004)

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The Montana Medical Marijuana Allowance Measure, also known as the Medical Marijuana Act or I-148, was an initiated state statute on the November 2, 2004 ballot in Montana, where it was approved.[1]

The initiative sought to allow the limited use of marijuana under medical supervision by patients with debilitating medical conditions.

Aftermath

Repeal

House Bill 161 was proposed by the Montana Legislature during 2011 state legislative session, and was introduced to repeal Measure I-148, effectively killing the state's medical marijuana law. HB 161 passed through both the Montana House of Representatives and the Montana State Senate, which only left the Governor of Montana to sign the measure for it to become a law. The measure was vetoed by Governor of Montana Brian Schweitzer on April 13, 2011 stating that the repeal was contrary to the decision voters made in 2004. The governor stated, "There were many people out there who said there is a medicine out there that is not currently legal." Schweitzer also stated, though, that stricter regulations on medical marijuana are needed, declaring, "I'm not a doctor, but we have heard from doctors and patients that this medicine helps them. Do we need 28,000 (medical marijuana) patients? I doubt it." However, Senate Bill 423 was passed by the Montana Legislature and was slated to become a law, without the governor's signature, on May 13, 2011. Unlike House Bill 161, the measure would act as a reform bill, imposing stricter regulations on medical marijuana.[2]

To read more about the proposed law, click here to view the text of the legislation.[3]

Election results

I-148 (Medical Marijuana)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 276,042 61.8%
No170,57938.2%

Official results via: The Montana Secretary of State

Support

The initiative was supported by Medical Marijuana Policy Project of Montana[1] (or MMPPM) and Montana NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)[2].

The official proponent argument was prepared by Representative Ron Erickson, Paul Befumo of MMPPM, and Robin Prosser, a Montanan who used marijuana to relieve chronic pain associated with an immunosupressive illness.[4] They argued that I-148 would protect patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and other serious illnesses from serving six months in prison and being fined $500 for using marijuana. It would also allow these patients to grow their own supply of the drug so they would no longer have to buy from the criminal market.

According to the official argument, I-148 is very similar to the laws in nine other states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington). In November of 2002, the investigative arm of Congress issued a report which found that these laws were working well and had not created problems for law enforcement officials. The argument also cited the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians as supporters of the medical use of marijuana under physicians' supervision.[5]

Opposition

I-148 was opposed by Rep. Jim Shockley (R). The official opponent argument was prepared by Shockley, along with the Association for Addiction Professionals President Roger Curtiss, NCAC II, LAC. They argued that, as a federally designated Schedule I Drug, marijuana is dangerous, has a high potential for abuse and has no medical value. They also argued that the initiative undermined Montana's drug enforcement priorities and the Food and Drug Administration System's "rigorous scientific and medical process of approval of new drugs that protect the people of the United States from unsafe, ineffective drugs."

They also claimed that the legalization advocates' assertions over the past decade has led to a decrease in marijuana's perceived harmfulness, which has resulted in an increase in marijuana use, other drug use, and drug addiction. They also noted that even if the initiative passed, there are still federal laws in place making it illegal to grow, sell, purchase or use marijuana even with a doctor's prescription.[6]

Campaign financing

Major donors to the campaign for the amendment includes the Medical Marijuana Policy Project of Montana, who donated $555,082.[7]

See also

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References

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