Advocates Fighting Montanas Medical Marijuana Restrictions Need More Funds
The folks at The Montana Cannabis Industry Association are currently in a battle to repeal the restrictive medical marijuana rules enacted in their state in 2011, rules that ban the commercial sale of cannabis and place tougher restrictions on patients and doctors, and that have practically wiped out medical marijuana in Montana. The number of medical marijuana providers is down a whopping 91% since last year.
The MCIA is suing for a repeal of the law and say they have enough money to get the case to the state Supreme Court hearing later this month, but after that the money is gone. They say they need a better rate of fundraising to see the case through to the end and are urging those who would benefit the most from a restoration of medical marijuana rights to give what they can.
The MCIA says it has already spent about $150,000 on the lawsuit, and will need another $100,000.
The fact that the medical cannabis industry in Montana has been wiped out cannot be helping the fundraising situation as all those revenues are now going to the black market or into thin air. It’s an uphill battle to say the least.
And if things go south in Montana for medical marijuana advocates, the federal government will be able to use the resources focused there to intimidate another state into submission. If the battle is lost in Montana, someone else is going to feel the hammer as well.
As the numbers stand now, medical marijuana advocates have the momentum In terms of states passing and considering medicinal cannabis bills, but if even one state is forced to backtrack can we still call it “momentum?”
In the end can anyone really consider themselves free as long as those in even one state have had their rights stripped from them?
Colorado Feels the Wrath of the Federal Government
After their great success in states like Montana and California, the federal government is now targeting another large medical marijuana state: Colorado. As in CA, the letters were sent out, the threats made, and this past weekend saw 25 dispensaries in Colorado close. As we also saw in CA, this is just the beginning.
Even though Colorado has extensive regulations concerning medical cannabis and cities have their own rules concerning the proximity of dispensaries to schools, the feds have decreed that any dispensary within 1,000 feet of a school has to go.
Many rightly wonder what business the federal government has undermining Colorado’s medical marijuana laws. "I can see no legitimate basis in this judicial district to focus the resources of the United States government on the medical marijuana dispensaries that are otherwise compliant with Colorado law or local regulation," Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett recently told U.S. Attorney John Walsh in a letter. "The people of Boulder County do not need Washington, D.C., or the federal government dictating how far dispensaries should be from schools, or other fine points of local land use law.”
U.S. Attorney Walsh was likely unmoved by Garnett’s logic as the crackdown continues. So far 47 dispensaries have closed in Colorado during the Obama Administration’s sweep through the state.
And while California may be a foregone conclusion when it comes to this fall’s Presidential election, Colorado is certainly not. A large swing state, CO could be a determining factor in who is President in this country for the next 4 years.
Who in the President’s campaign thinks it’s a good idea to alienate large swaths of people in a swing state in an election year? Does Obama think he can win without Colorado? Or does he think that those who care about medical marijuana are so small in number that he can still win in Colorado while crippling functioning businesses in the state?
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Medical Marijuana in Connecticut?
Medical marijuana patients in Connecticut may soon have some legal protection as the state senate is considering a bill that the state house has already passed and the Governor has said he will sign.
CT’s law would include strict regulations on who can receive medical marijuana. It would include registration for patients and growers alike, and only those with certain ailments would qualify.
But some say there are too many restrictions, like Republican state senator John Kissel. "Under this bill, there are restrictions every step of the way," Kissel said. "Therefore, to my mind as a practical matter, it is a fallacy to think that people would pursue marijuana this way, as opposed to other ways in the state of Connecticut."
Meaning if it is too hard to get legal medical marijuana, many patients will stick to the black market they are used to. Not exactly an ideal outcome.
Following his brethren in other states, U.S. Attorney for the state of Connecticut David Fein says he will enforce federal law against those who distribute and cultivate marijuana. And since the distribution and cultivation of marijuana are illegal under federal law, no amount of state regulation is going to shield CT from the DEA and the Department of Justice. Just ask medical cannabis business operators in Colorado, a state with a wide array of regulations for MMJ.
Lawmakers in CT say they want to avoid the confusion over medical marijuana that reigns in California, but what’s happening in CA isn’t a result so much of a lack of regulations, but a lack of specific rules in some key areas. But no matter what the MMJ law in CA would have said, it wouldn’t have stopped the crackdown.
The pharmaceutical companies that fill Obama’s campaign coffers with cash have called in their favors. The decision has been made. Medical marijuana must go.
Good luck Connecticut.
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