October 19, 2016
I am proud to say that our newspaper endorses Initiative 182. If approved by Montana voters this initiative will restore Montana’s medical marijuana program allowing responsible, regulated use by registered patients. Patients who, like my husband, simply want improved quality of life and a return to health.
October 19, 2016
BILLINGS -In less than a month, Montanans will decide the fate of Initiative 182, the Medical Marijuana Act aimed to help patients.It's those patients who want to dispel myths about the ballot measure.
Sidney-born, Billings resident Kathleen Albertson is in limbo.
October 09, 2016
BOZEMAN - In 2004, Montanans expressed their collective will when they voted to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. In 2011, in an act of legislative overreach, lawmakers voted to deny the will of the people by enacting restrictions on marijuana providers that put them out of business. And that is leaving those who need medical marijuana with few legal ways to get the drug.
Initiative 182, on the November ballot, would correct that wrong. And voters should approve the measure.
October 06, 2016
BOZEMAN - Montanans have been voting on initiatives about the medical use of marijuana since 2004, and this year will be no different.
I-182 would reverse recent restrictions that limited medical marijuana providers to just three patients, restrictions that all but eliminating access for more than 12,000 Montanans who have state permission to use the substance.
But the initiative faces intense opposition from a group called Safe Montana that failed to get its own initiative on the ballot. Safe Montana was pushing I-176, which would have banned all legal use of marijuana in the state. After the secretary of state rejected the initiative because of problematic signatures, the group refocused on stopping I-182.
Supporters of expanding medical marijuana access gathered more than 24,000 signatures in 58 days to put I-182 on the ballot. Its supporters want to reverse the series of legislative and legal actions that they say have made it impossible for medical marijuana providers to run viable businesses.
“I just don’t think there are that many Good Samaritans out there,” said Jeff Krauss, treasurer for Montana Citizens for I-182 and a Bozeman city commissioner. “It’s really saying cancer patients or MS sufferers have to learn to grow medical marijuana and research what plants help which diseases most. It’s really a return to prohibition.”
The restrictions, Krauss said, made criminals out of 12,000 sick people.
October 06, 2016
BUTTE - Katie Mazurek described herself as "uptight" when she was growing up, but when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she saw that medical marijuana allowed her to continue to be a mother to her children and run her law practice.
"I am a little embarrassed that I fell into the stereotype of the fear and shame around it," said Mazurek, of Bozeman.
She first tried medical marijuana on a trip to Washington. She had traveled without her other medication and then remembered she could get marijuana in the state, which made recreational use legal in 2012.
"This is really a drug that allows me to engage with my family," Mazurek said.
October 04, 2016
BOZEMAN - Janice Williamson will lose two of her toes on Monday.
The 57-year-old Manhattan woman has had rheumatoid arthritis for 34 years. It affects her entire body. Her hands are knotted, and the pain in her feet is such that she had surgery in June just so she could walk. But after the procedure, the necessary blood didn’t reach two of her toes.
Six years ago, Williamson was prescribed medical marijuana. She met with a provider that grows marijuana, KannaKare Health Services in Bozeman, and found that the marijuana eased her pain, allowing her to sleep through the night.
But last month, a letter from the state said she must become her own provider.
“I’m not educated enough to do that,” she said. “Oh my gosh, it’s so sophisticated and we don’t have a very big house.”
Williamson and thousands of patients and their providers are waiting to see what happens to a ballot measure headed to voters in November designated I-182, which would save Montana’s dying medical marijuana industry.
October 04, 2016
BILLINGS - You have the opportunity to make a positive difference in people’s lives this fall. Montana residents will be able to vote on Initiative 182 (I-182) on November 8, 2016, an important referendum concerning the health and well-being of thousands of people around the state. If passed, I-182 would address crucial changes in Montana’s over-bearing and strict laws which negatively affect medical marijuana patients and caregivers. Although medical marijuana is already legal in Montana, I-182 is needed to abolish some of these very harmful restrictions currently in place.
September 30, 2016
GREAT FALLS - Medical marijuana has been debated in Montana for more than a decade.
After voters in 2004 approved a vague medical marijuana law, the issue languished for several years.
Seven years later, the number of medical marijuana card-holders soared to 30,000 people.
In 2011, the Montana Legislature passed a severely restrictive law that included a provision that a medical marijuana provider could only serve three patients. The three-patient limit finally took effect Aug. 31.
“I think it was just de facto prohibition,” said retired CPA and former Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss, a proponent of Initiative 182, which would change Montana’s medical marijuana law yet again. Last month, medical marijuana card-holders in Montana numbered 13,034.
The three-person limit “cut a whole lot of people out” of receiving medical marijuana, Krauss said. And he said it’s not practical to expect an elderly person suffering from cancer to grow his or her own medical marijuana.
I-182 would reverse the three-patient limit.
“That’s what we’re trying to get back to, to a place where suffering people ease their suffering,” Krauss said in a telephone interview.
September 22, 2016
BILLINGS - The sponsor of a ballot issue to expand the state medical marijuana program issued a campaign finance complaint against Safe Montana, the group campaigning against the issue.
Montana Citizens for I-182 filed the complaint on Wednesday to the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices. The complaint alleged that Safe Montana filed vague and late finance reports and failed to disclose the purchase of billboards that went up across the state this month.
The group also referenced the Safe Montana website, noting that it has language on it opposing I-182 but doesn't include a "paid for by" disclaimer, which is required by state election laws.
Billings businessman Steve Zabawa, the founder of Safe Montana, said Wednesday that he hadn't seen the complaint but denied the allegations.
September 21, 2016
BUTTE - The number of registered medical marijuana patients in Montana without access to a legal provider has quadrupled in the past two weeks to 11,850 patients.
Ninety-three percent of the 12,730 patients registered with the Montana Marijuana Program are listed as “patients with no provider” in the program’s first monthly report — released this week from the state — since a law limiting providers to three patients took effect on Aug. 31.