Montana: Restrictive Medical Marijuana Revisions Become Law

Helena, MT: Legislation amending the state’s six-year-old, voter-approved medical marijuana program became law on Saturday without the signature of Democrat Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Senate Bill 423 intends to reduce total number of state-qualified medical cannabis patients from an estimated 30,000 to fewer than 2,000.

Senate Bill 423 requires that advising physicians be reported to the state Board of Examiners if they recommend cannabis to more than 25 patients per year. The measure also enacts stricter qualifying requirement for chronic pain patients and prohibits licensed caregivers from receiving any financial compensation for providing cannabis to qualified persons.

Most of the provisions in SB 423 will become effective on July 1, 2011.

A summary of SB 423’s provisions is available online from Montana NORML. Full text of the measure is available online here.

The Montana Cannabis Industry Association and various plaintiffs are challenging the legality of several provisions of SB 423. On Friday, a state district judge in Helena temporarily ordered the state not to enforce SB 423’s ban on all advertising of medical marijuana products.

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