Marijuana billboard welcomes Barack Obama to Colorado
Have Things Finally Hit Bottom for Medical Marijuana in Montana?
After state laws and federal raids have decimated the medical marijuana industry in Montana, things seem to be finally leveling off as far as the number of cardholders and providers is concerned.
As of the end of July, Montana had 8,844 registered medical marijuana cardholders, according to the Medical Marijuana Program in the state Department of Public Health and Human Services. That’s slightly more than the 8,681 registered at the end of June.
It’s the first monthly increase in medical marijuana cardholder numbers since May 2011, when the monthly totals rose to 31,522 from 30,609. Which means overall the number of cardholders is off about 70%+ since its peak.
Roy Kemp, deputy administrator of the Quality Assurance Division in the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, said he believes the number of cardholders has reached equilibrium.
“During the course of implementation of (SBN) 423 — it was implemented a year ago in July — we saw a precipitous decline in people not renewing,” Kemp said. “During each of the months, there were people renewing their cards and new patients coming on. Where we had huge drops, we had new patients coming on in every month of the last 12.”
Kemp added, “Really, what you’re looking on right now is where you have none of the chaff in the new registry.”
Chaff is an odd word to use to describe medical marijuana patients – one of its definitions is “worthless matter or refuse.” One would suppose he means the ones who were “faking” to get legal marijuana, but it’s hard to comprehend how a piece of legislation could know the medical histories of some 22,000 people and decide if they need the option of medical cannabis.
In many ways, Montana is where the current trend – at least among many authorities – to suppress medical marijuana started. More than a year later, patients are still feeling the pain.
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