Rory Savatgy

Most Montana MMJ Patients Have No Provider

Under Montana’s newly implemented medical marijuana program, 93 percent of the 12,730 registered patients in the state are now listed as “patients with no provider,” leaving them without access to their medicine, the Montana Standard reports. The law, which took effect on Aug. 31, allows the 457 medical marijuana providers in the state to serve just three patients each.

Jon Ebelt, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, said that patients classified “with no provider” are considered their own provider, which allows them to grow their own cannabis. However Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, said growing cannabis “is no small step for anyone,” and it’s unrealistic for the state to think that many patients can buy growing equipment, obtain seeds, learn to grow and get permission from their landlord, if necessary, to start a home grow.

“There is a perception that growing at home is like growing house plants, but it is actually very involved, and the cost savings compared with purchasing can be offset by things like security, demanding schedule, and the possible presence of young family members,” Lindsey said in the report.

Lindsay suggests the regulations will force patients back into the informal market, or make them reliant on pharmaceuticals, at least temporarily as voters will decide on whether to roll back the changes in November.

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