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Carlos Gracia

Initiative to Restore Montana Medical Cannabis Qualifies for Ballot

The Montana Medical Marijuana Act (I-182) has qualified for the November ballot, the Secretary of State’s office confirmed this week. The initiative seeks to undo restrictions passed by the legislature and turn Montana’s medical cannabis program once more into a thriving, compassionate industry.

Though Montana voters originally legalized medical cannabis in 2004, state lawmakers decided to override the sentiments of voters in 2011 with the passage of Senate Bill 423 — a highly criticized attempt by the legislature to rein in Montana’s medical marijuana program, and which now threatens to leave more than 12,000 patients without legal access to the medicine they need.

Upheld earlier this year by the Montana Supreme Court, SB 423 takes effect starting August 31.

I-182, an initiative propelled by activist group Montana Citizens for I-182, seeks to undo the damages inflicted by SB 423. According to the campaign, “I-182 addresses concerns over the previous law and provides accountability to all Montanans, including patients, doctors and the general public.”

The new law would:

  • Require providers to obtain licenses and undergo annual inspections.
  • Remove restrictions from SB 423 that limit providers to serving only three patients.
  • Allow for certified lab tests to confirm consumer safety, consistency, and dosage information.
  • Make chronic pain and traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) qualifying medical cannabis conditions.
  • Establish licensing fees that would pay for the program.

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