Montanans Propose New Medical Marijuana Initiative for 2016 Ballot

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Montana Citizens for I-182 Launch Petition Drive

April 19, 2016

HELENA – On Tuesday at a news conference at the Montana Capitol advocates for a new medical marijuana initiative announced their campaign to place Initiative 182 on the November 2016 ballot.

“Montanans want a responsible, accountable law allowing access to medical marijuana to those with debilitating illnesses,” said Jeff Krauss, republican, three-term mayor of Bozeman, current city commissioner, cancer survivor, CPA, former Montana Regent, and Treasurer for Montana Citizens for I-182. “Our friends and loved ones suffering from such ailments deserve the choice of safe, legal relief that marijuana provides.  With all of the uncertainty, the time is now to make sure those who need medical marijuana have access.”

Initiative 182 is one of four ballot issues related to marijuana that is seeking support from Montanans to be on the 2016 ballot.   I-182 is the only initiative that addresses medical marijuana access. One ballot proposal would repeal the current medical marijuana law and make marijuana use totally illegal in Montana, while two others would provide for recreational use of marijuana.

“I know from my personal experience with others fighting cancer we need safe access to medical marijuana. I am a supporter of I-182 and I encourage all Montanans to get behind this important effort, “said Katie Mazurek, a 33-year-old attorney and mother of two from Bozeman, who was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in February. Her personal fight with cancer led her into the statewide fight over the future of medical marijuana in Montana. 

“Tomorrow I go in for my second round of chemo, which will send me into another week of pain, nausea and exhaustion. Unfortunately my story is not unusual and it’s fair to say that most Montanans have been touched by cancer in some way. Medical marijuana offers relief to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, but legislation from five years ago now threatens to take that option away from patients like me. I’m not a bad person. I’m a sick person. It pains me to be persecuted for being a sick person.”

To learn more about Mazurek’s fight with cancer go to her blog

I-182 needs to collect 24,175 valid signatures from at least 34 legislative house districts before Friday June 17th, 2016.

In 2004, 64% of Montana voters passed a law creating a medical marijuana program but the Montana Legislature repealed the act in 2011 and replaced it with a new law that fails to meet patient’s needs. According to the sponsors, the new medical marijuana initiative, I-182, addresses concerns over the previous law and ensures accountability to all Montanans by:                 

  • Requiring providers obtain licenses and receive unannounced yearly inspections.
  • Allowing for product testing to ensure safety, consistency and accurate dosages.
  • Providing access to veterans and other patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Removes the three person patient limit for providers.
  • Creates licensing fees to pay for the administration of the new law.

“As a veteran and an advocate for medical marijuana I support providing access to medical marijuana for veterans and other patients diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),” said Tayln Lang, a Marine Corps veteran from Missoula who has been diagnosed with PTSD.

“Veterans suffering from PTSD are often put on prescriptions for antidepressants and opiate painkillers. This cocktail of drugs has been shown to increase risk of suicide. That’s why veterans’ access to medical marijuana is so important. It offers relief through a safer alternative. It’s important to take care of our veterans who have given so much. This new marijuana initiative will honor our vets with a safe, responsible approach that provides veterans access to the medicine they need.”

The issue of veterans’ access to medical marijuana has even garnered strong bi-partisan support at the federal level with both Montana Senators Daines (R) and Tester (D) endorsing legislation that is pending before Congress to allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana for veterans in the current 23 states that have adopted medical marijuana laws.