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Those who advocate for the use and propagation of marijuana has made a strange alliance with those belonging to law enforcement, as well as with government officials, in order to give support to a major proposal that would have the booming industry in Montana licensed and regulated.
Those in opposition to the bill formed still another strange alliance, comprising of marijuana growers, caregivers and patients, as well as those who wanted to repeal the Montana ballot initiative in 2004 that paved the way for the legalization of medical marijuana to begin with.
House Bill 68 (HB68), which was sponsored by Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, went through a hearing before the House Human Services Committee on Friday. Approximately more than 70 people gave statements either as pro or against the said bill. The panel however, did not carry out any action on the bill.
House Bill 68 would be creating a tiered licensing system which would require criminal background checks on those who either sell or grow medical marijuana. It would also require two doctors to sign off before one who suffers from chronic pain could use medical marijuana. HB68 would likewise give local governments the power to regulate the industry, and to ban marijuana smoking in public. Doctors would also be required to have a Montana office, and they must have no financial ties to the said industry.
Some say that the medical marijuana industry has already spun out of control since 2009, and HB68 is just one of the 2 major bills that seek to provide control over the industry. Sen. Dave Lewis, R-Helena, has proposed a separate bill that aims to likewise tax medical marijuana and impose a regulatory system on it.