There was a time when Montana had a relatively large medical marijuana program that boasted more than 30,000 registered patients. That number has since fallen to a little over 13,000 and some 90% of those patients don’t have access to their medicine because the state’s medical marijuana program has been decimated by politicians and judges over the last few years.
As of last month there were only 1,371 registered patients in the state with access to a medical cannabis provider. New rules only allow providers up to 3 patients, leaving most registered users without any access to their legal medicine of choice.
The changes were made by the state legislature because many were worried that people who might not be sick could be getting access to cannabis legally. So to avert this possible catastrophe, laws were passed that restricted the program so much that a vast majority of those who are sick have no way to get legal marijuana. Crisis averted!
Common sense would lead someone to believe that it doesn’t matter if someone who is not “sick” gets legal marijuana as long as those who need it the most have access to a safe supply. Toward that end, Montana voters have a chance to decide on Initiative 182 next month, which will remove the 3 patient limit, remove obstacles to obtaining medical marijuana for those with chronic pain and PTSD and add various other regulations to oversee the state’s program.
Of course, we have to wait until Election Day to see what voters in Montana decide, but the opposition to I-182 – a group called “Safe Montana” – recently endured some setbacks at the hands of the state’s Commissioner of Political Practices, who ruled the group broke some rules when it comes to financial disclosures and how they handled initial efforts to wipe out the Montana medical marijuana program completely.
One of the best things about the increasing momentum of recreational marijuana legalization efforts is that it will eliminate – for the most part – battles over medical marijuana. Adults shouldn’t need a reason to purchase, share or grow cannabis. There will still likely be some sort of medical marijuana programs for children who benefit from cannabis, but the future is legalization for all adults – for any reason.
Until then, tens of millions of patients across the U.S. do without their medicine because politicians are worried some hippie might get high legally and go to a Phish concert. That should not be the priority in this situation; helping sick people should be.