Category: Medical Marijuana
| Posted on Sun, May, 12th 2013 by THCFinder
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — If American society's tolerance for marijuana is now growing, then what happened in Montana illustrates just what can happen when the government decides things have gone too far.
Pot advocates were running caravans, helping hundreds of residents in a day get medical marijuana user cards. Some doctors who conducted cursory exams on scores of people were fined. As the number of users quickly grew, so did a retail industry that led some to dub the state "Big High Country."
Today, thousands of medical pot providers have gone out of business, and a health department survey showed that the number of registered users have fallen to less than a quarter of their 2011 numbers.
The drop was driven in part by a tougher 2011 law on medical marijuana use and distribution. But more than anything, marijuana advocates say, the demise of the once-booming medical pot industry was the result of the largest federal drug-trafficking investigation in the state's industry.
The three-year investigation by the U.S. attorney's office, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies wrapped up last week when the last of 33 convicted defendants was sentenced. That allowed its architect, U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter, to speak publicly for the first time on the crackdown.
"For a long time, we were hearing complaints from local law enforcement and from citizens ... that they were tired of marijuana and they were tired of it next to schools, to churches, people smoking it openly on the streets," Cotter said in an interview with The Associated Press.
"It was just something that had to be done," he said. "And the result of doing it the way that we did, it was a strong statement that marijuana wasn't going to be tolerated in Montana."