INTERIM LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE’S PROPOSALS TO CHANGE MEDICAL MARIJUANA

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Newshawk: Herb
Pubdate: Sat, 25 Dec 2010
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2010 Missoulian
Contact: oped@missoulian.com
Website: http://www.missoulian.com/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/720
Author: Charles S. Johnson

INTERIM LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE’S PROPOSALS TO CHANGE MEDICAL MARIJUANA
LAW WIDE-RANGING

HELENA – Here are the highlights of an interim legislative
committee’s major proposal to revise the state’s Medical Marijuana
Act and create a regulatory structure for the industry.

Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, has introduced the bill on behalf of
the Children, Families, Health and Human Services Interim Committee
that she chaired. Here are its key provisions, according to a summary
by legislative researcher Sue O’Connell:

. Creates a state licensing and regulatory structure for medical
marijuana businesses.

The Revenue Department would be in charge of regulation, while the
Department of Public Health and Human Services would continue to
register patients qualified to use medical marijuana.

Parolees, probationers and individuals under youth court supervision
may not receive cards.

. Creates a tiered licensing system for people growing and selling
medical marijuana.

A provider would be an individual who grows or obtains medical
marijuana for registered cardholders and is limited to working with
five or fewer cardholders.

A medical marijuana dispensary may sell marijuana to more than five
cardholders.

A medical marijuana-infused products manufacturer may make products,
such as edible products or tinctures.

A medical marijuana grower may grow marijuana for a dispensary or
infused products manufacturer. This grower must also have a license
for one of those other businesses.

. Establishes requirements for people applying for a license to grow
and sell medical marijuana. Applicants must submit fingerprints for a
national criminal history background check. They may not have felony
convictions of any kind, nor be on probation or parole or be under
youth court supervision.

Applicants may not be licensed if they owe taxes, child support or
student loans.

Applicants must disclose the names of all people affiliated with the
business and those with financial interests in the business.

The bill would require regular monitoring of license holders.
Licensees must provide quarterly reports on sales, revenues and other
items. The Revenue Department may inspect the business premises and
audit its records.

. Gives local government the authority to regulate. A local
government may establish zoning regulations, business licensing
requirements and building codes and standards, but may not ban
medical marijuana within its boundaries.

. Establishes new requirement for physicians. It creates a definition
of standard of care and requires physicians to meet the standard when
providing a written certification for use of medical marijuana. They
must have an office in the state and not located where medical
marijuana is grown, stored or distributed.

It prohibits physicians from having any financial ties to a medical
marijuana business if they provide written certifications for medical
marijuana.

. Revises the existing law to clean up gray areas. It requires that
applicants for medical marijuana registry cards and business licenses
be Montana residents. A proof of residency would be required for
applicants using medical marijuana cards. There would be a two-year
residency requirement for people applying for licenses to grow or
sell the product.

Two physician certifications are necessary to get a card for chronic
pain. A person with cancer, glaucoma, HIV or AIDS may receive a card
when the symptoms of the condition are seriously affecting the
person’s health status.

It increases from 1 ounce to 2 ounces the amount of usable marijuana
a person may possess, but caps purchases at 2 ounces per month. The
current law has no limits on the frequency of purchases.

It prohibits the smoking of medical marijuana in public.

It repeals the so-called “affirmative defense” that people could
raise in court, even if they weren’t registered to use or grow
medical marijuana or had more than the allowable amount.

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