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Suggested changes to SB423

2011-04-28T12:35:00Z 2011-04-28T12:39:18Z Suggested changes to SB423IR State Bureau Helena Independent Record
April 28, 2011 12:35 pm  • 

Here are suggested changes to Senate Bill 423 from Gov. Brian Schweitzer, made public in a draft letter Thursday:

--Increase the number of cardholders for whom medical marijuana providers or manufacturers may provide products, from the three to 25 people.

"I believe SB423 makes access to medical marijuana far too difficult for patients, many of whom are suffering chronic and severe illness and do not have the physical or financial ability to grow their own marijuana to treat their debilitating condition," Schweitzer said. "Patients must be able to obtain medical marijuana from legitimate sources with a reliable product."

He said he's confident the 25-patient limit will "prevent the large grow operations that boomed under the current law."

--Remove the restriction on providers from making a profit for providing medical pot or marijuana products. SB423 would prohibit patients for paying providers for growing marijuana for them, although patients could pay the providers' state licensing fees.

"My amendments do allow a provider to charge for their plant products and lift the no-profit restriction from the bill," he said.

--Allow a provider to be both a grower and manufacturer of marijuana-infused products.

"There has been no testimony that this now common practice has been a problem," he said.

--Increase the number of patients that a physician could recommend medical marijuana before triggering a review by the state Board of Medical Examiners.

The bill provides that if a physician recommends in a 12-month period that more than 15 patients receive medical marijuana, the Board of Medical Examiners would conduct a review of the doctor, at the physician's expense. Schweitzer would raise that threshold to 50 patients per doctor, which he said is less than 5 percent of the average Montana physician's caseload.

The 50-patient limit, he said, "will still certainly curtail the number of cardholders."

--Require two physicians, rather than one, for a minor to be certified to be treated with medical marijuana in an edible form or topical cream.

--Revise the bill to address constitutional problems concerning the medical marijuana patient's privacy. He said the Montana Constitution guarantees citizens with the right to privacy, including those who register for medical marijuana. He said the requirement of SB423 requires cardholders' names and addresses to be provided to local law enforcement by the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

"The blanket disclosure requirement in the bill would never survive the strict scrutiny stand for invading a patient's right to privacy," he said.

What's more, Schweitzer said the disclosure of cardholders also directly violates both the Montana Government Health Care Information Act and the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

"Handing over a list of cardholders to law enforcement is unfair to vulnerable patients who legitimately qualify for a card," he said. "I fear it would drive those patients to the illegal market for marijuana."

--Change the bill so as not to allow law enforcement unlimited access, without permission or warrant, to the private homes of cardholders who grow their own marijuana.

"Patients who grow their own plants were not the genesis of any of the problems that arose under the current law and should not now be subject to warrantless searches," Schweitzer said. "If law enforcement officers believe a patient is diverting their marijuana or growing beyond the allowed limits, they should properly investigate the matter, gain access through consent or through a search warrant."

His amendments would permit unannounced inspections of providers and manufacturers by the Department of Public Health and Human Services and law enforcement during normal business hours.

--Transfer the revising authority for approving a new medical condition for eligibility for medical marijuana treatment from the Legislature to the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

--Provide for "a more rational transition time" for providers to register and comply with the new law. He would make new effective date for some provisions Oct. 1 and for others July 1.

--Require providers who grow and manufacture marijuana products to register their location with the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

--Give the department rule-making authority to enable cardholders to receive a list of medical pot providers in a particular area.

"Given that SB423 prohibits advertising and storefronts may be prohibited by local jurisdictions, it is essential patients are able to find a provider," Schweitzer said.

--Give the Department of Public Health and Human Service authority to adopt rules regarding the transportation, possession of samples and testing and labeling of marijuana by laboratories around Montana.

"Laboratories have been receiving, testing and labeling marijuana under the current law and doing so protects the patients in titrating proper does and assists the medical community with scientific information about the value of particular strains on specific debilitating conditions," he said. "It also may help us in the future with tracking marijuana and prosecuting illegal activity."

 

Copyright 2015 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(27) Comments

  1. RonPaul2012
    Report Abuse
    RonPaul2012 - May 13, 2011 1:32 am
    This law will do one of two things. It will either
    A.) Create the same loophole California has - Since you can't 'sell' Cannabis for profit, the Caregiver suggests a 'Minimum Donation' thus making the Medical Marijuana sector un-taxable OR
    B.) Put the money back in the hands of drugs dealers, and turn once law abiding citizens into drug dealers.

    I fail to see the correlation between SB423 and it's proposed 'safety'. How restricting access to a natural medicine was ever constituted as 'safe' is beyond me. Common sense people.

    WE CAN CHANGE THIS LAW! We have 6 months from July 1st when the law goes into effect to get 15% of registered voters to sign a petition! This is still in the ground works, we don't have an official petition written yet so right now we are trying to spread the word via facebook so that when we do have a petition written we have a huge network of potential signatures!

    For more information on how, as registered Montana Voters, we can suspend the unconstitutional Senate Bill 423 Visit -

    facebook.com/suspendSB423

    Please Spread the Word by 'Liking' the page and Sharing it!
  2. RonPaul2012
    Report Abuse
    RonPaul2012 - May 13, 2011 1:29 am
    This law will do one of two things. It will either
    A.) Create the same loophole California has - Since you can't 'sell' Cannabis for profit, the Caregiver suggests a 'Minimum Donation' thus making the Medical Marijuana sector un-taxable OR
    B.) Put the money back in the hands of drugs dealers, and turn once law abiding citizens into drug dealers.

    I fail to see the correlation between SB423 and it's proposed 'safety'. How restricting access to a natural medicine was ever constituted as 'safe' is beyond me. Common sense people.

    WE CAN CHANGE THIS LAW! We have 6 months from July 1st when the law goes into effect to get 15% of registered voters to sign a petition! This is still in the ground works, we don't have an official petition written yet so right now we are trying to spread the word via facebook so that when we do have a petition written we have a huge network of potential signatures!

    For more information on how, as registered Montana Voters, we can suspend the unconstitutional Senate Bill 423 Visit -

    facebook.com/suspendSB423

    Please Spread the Word by 'Liking' the page and Sharing it!
  3. Born in Helena
    Report Abuse
    Born in Helena - May 05, 2011 12:18 am
    Joe says "Hi!"
  4. Born in Helena
    Report Abuse
    Born in Helena - May 05, 2011 12:09 am
    thatsjustme said: "Anyone interested, this is some interesting reading and written by Jeffrey Miron, a visiting professor of economics at Harvard University.Here's a summary:Government prohibition of marijuana is the subject of ongoing debate.One issue in this debate is the effect of marijuana prohibition on government budgets. Prohibition entails direct enforcement costs and prevents taxation of marijuana production and sale.This report examines the budgetary implications of legalizing marijuana – taxing and regulating it like other goods – in all fifty states and at the federal level.The report estimates that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. $5.3 billion of this savings would accrue to state and local governments, while $2.4 billion would accrue to the federal government.The report also estimates that marijuana legalization would yield tax revenue of $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like all other goods and $6.2 billion annually if marijuana were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco.Whether marijuana legalization is a desirable policy depends on many factors other than the budgetary impacts discussed here. But these impacts should be included in a rational debate about marijuana policy.Read the full report here:http://prohibitioncosts.org/mironreport.html"

  5. myopin
    Report Abuse
    myopin - May 02, 2011 2:41 pm
    Bottomline: There could be up to 25000 people growing their own.
    Is the governor providing the seds?
  6. thatsjustme
    Report Abuse
    thatsjustme - April 28, 2011 10:28 pm
    Anyone interested, this is some interesting reading and written by Jeffrey Miron, a visiting professor of economics at Harvard University.

    Here's a summary:

    Government prohibition of marijuana is the subject of ongoing debate.

    One issue in this debate is the effect of marijuana prohibition on government budgets. Prohibition entails direct enforcement costs and prevents taxation of marijuana production and sale.

    This report examines the budgetary implications of legalizing marijuana – taxing and regulating it like other goods – in all fifty states and at the federal level.

    The report estimates that legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement of prohibition. $5.3 billion of this savings would accrue to state and local governments, while $2.4 billion would accrue to the federal government.

    The report also estimates that marijuana legalization would yield tax revenue of $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like all other goods and $6.2 billion annually if marijuana were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco.

    Whether marijuana legalization is a desirable policy depends on many factors other than the budgetary impacts discussed here. But these impacts should be included in a rational debate about marijuana policy.


    Read the full report here:

    http://prohibitioncosts.org/mironreport.html
  7. Riamh
    Report Abuse
    Riamh - April 28, 2011 10:28 pm
    Old Joe said: "If the governor believes marijuana is so healthful and medicinal, he ought to be trying some himself. Quote from article: "The 50-patient limit, he said, "will still certainly curtail the number of cardholders."The governor's suggestion won't curtail the number of provider's. So, that number is like pie.So, 50 patients X say 5 plants each = something like 2,500 plants per provider. Now, does that sound like a small operation to you?Governor Schweitzer you know better. You refuse to acknowledge the scientific studies (Harvard University) which so far have identified over 400 chemicals in marijuana. Some of these chemicals are specifically found only in marijuana. Over 60 are psychoactive. These chemicals have proven to raise blood pressure (red/bloodshot eyes is just one obvious sign.), lower testosterone, and compromises the immune system, which is contrary to what ill people should be doing to their body. One marijuana cigarette contains the same amount of toxins found in a pack of cigarettes. The same toxin identified as the primary cause of lung cancer in tobacco users, is also found in marijuana. While the marijuana industry is not concerned with educating people about scientific studies and facts, you as governor should be concerned about educating the people of your state who you claim to represent. You are not a physician Governor Schweitzer, and you should not be moonlighting as one either. "

    Hey Joe, I think you been smokin a bit of reefer yourself, or else you're drunker'n a skunk because your math reminds me of George Bush's Fuzzy Math... 50 x 5 = 250 - learn some math. 25 is the number of patients 1 provider can have. please remove your head from your rectum and go back and read the article again. Maybe you'll get it right this time.

    Seriously Joe, what is your problem?
    You apparently don't listen or read very well. everything you read, you twist into something else. Usually something ignorant or just plain mean.

    If you have removed your head from your rectum, and re-read the article, you will note that The 50 patient limit was on doctors. If 1 doctor certifies 50 patients for cannabis, it will trigger a medical review at the expense of the doctor.

    Further joe.. what's with this "Harvard" study? why cant you seem to produce it? I've seen several people ask you to post a link to it. you keep ignoring that request, this tells me that this "harvard study" doesn't exist at all, and you are making up factoids in your own mind. Guess what? we're all sick of hearing about how 1 joint is as bad for you as 1 pack of cigarettes, because that is just horsepucky you made up, so quit spouting it off, no one believes you anyway!
  8. bajabob
    Report Abuse
    bajabob - April 28, 2011 6:46 pm
    Sounds pretty fair to me except the part about investigating Doctors. Do we investigate doctors who prescribe morphine on this type of quota basis? I'm a Veteran, my primary care Doctor dare not(no pun intended) refer me to medical marijuana for fear of losing his job. I know several other Doctors who will not refer pot because they fear if they do the DEA will be all over them and pulling their ability to prescribe other narcotics. Anytime you have Government second guessing doctors and patients quality of care will suffer. Millions of Americans suffer needless pain because we want to prevent a few thousand from abusing drugs. This is a stupid trade-off. The decision as to what type and quantity of medication a patient uses should be determined by the patient. Our current method feeds a steady supply of alcoholics and addicts to prisons and hospitals and graveyards unabated. It's time for a new approach, let's look at Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Britain and Norway for starters.
  9. swankonia
    Report Abuse
    swankonia - April 28, 2011 6:03 pm
    To OLD JOE and EVERYONE else involved in this debate.

    This is put on by MONTANA PBS.

    http://watch.montanapbs.org/video/1825223761/


  10. Penelope24
    Report Abuse
    Penelope24 - April 28, 2011 5:53 pm
    I would rather see caregivers paying taxes than criminals pocketing all the money from the illegal distribution of marijuana. I don't think Schweitzer was "moonlighting" as a physician. Truth be told, I think he was protecting the rights of Montana citizens who chose to use Marijuana rather than prednosone, vicodine, or oxycodone. You would be hard pressed to find a doctor that is not jumping at the bit to pass of a perscription for these HIGHLY addictive and dangerous drugs. Additionally, medical marijuana in Montana has succeeded in doing what our Nation has failed in, and by that I mean, MM has stimulated our economy. Like it or not, it has created several jobs for people in a time where jobs are not always readily available. I am happy to see that some restriction will be placed on places like MCN because I do not agree with the way that business is ran. All in all, I am very happy to see that my vote for Schweitzer has benefited my family numerous times over.
  11. mymtguest
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    mymtguest - April 28, 2011 5:51 pm
    Oh for Pete's sake. Medical marijuana has it's pluses AND it's minuses. Frankly, most medicines do. Why should MMJ have to be 100% safe for it to be available? The blood pressure medicine I'm prescribed isn't. There's a full page of things to be careful of and watch out for. It's easier for me to get a prescription for my migraines (some that are controlled substances; one was a highly addictive barbiturate) than it is to get medical marijuana. No tests definitively diagnosed my migraines, either.

    The medications prescribed to my mother to treat her rheumatoid arthritis have some nasty potential side effects: liver failure, tuberculosis, diabetes, thinning of bones/suppression of bone marrow, severe lung infections, suppression of the immune system, congestive heart failure and CANCER. (There are other side effects I haven't listed.) But hey, since they're man-made and approved by the FDA, those are acceptable risks.

    There are probably just as many studies showing the efficacy of MMJ as showing the negative effects. Let patients and doctors decide for themselves if the risks are worth it for them.

    Check out www.procon.org and look at their info on marijuana. Especially the time line. Pretty interesting stuff.

    There were other bills this session that would have regulated users, growers and doctors. There would have been samples examined by labs, restrictions on where MMJ could be grown/sold (not near schools/daycares, for example), background checks, inspections of grower sites/stores (you know, like they do for restaurants to ensure cleanliness?), DNA typing of MMJ to enable tracking and quality control, restrictions on advertising, licensing of growers (like any business, which would allow for taxation) and registration of buyers.
  12. grmarheene
    Report Abuse
    grmarheene - April 28, 2011 4:43 pm
    to "old joe"------I bet u believe EVERYTHING the gov't tells you-"they" would NEVER outright lie to the American public--right?! you need to get out more.
  13. mtpatsfan
    Report Abuse
    mtpatsfan - April 28, 2011 4:01 pm
    Old Joe I wish you would do my payroll 40 hours x $15.00=$6000 a week. Sounds great.
  14. finestkind
    Report Abuse
    finestkind - April 28, 2011 3:57 pm
    Tri-pleX said: ""--Require two physicians, rather than one, for a minor to be certified to be treated with medical marijuana in an edible form or topical cream."So it doesn't exempt a minor with chronic pain from being exempt to the current underage smoking regulations? Strange. How about also requiring parent or guardian consent in addition to physician? "Wrath of Mom" could avoid potential abuses before they even apply for a card."
    __________________________________________


    Oh, for pity's sake. Consent of a parent is REQUIRED for a minor to get a card. That's always been there. Under this minors aren't allowed smokable marijuana -- it must be edible or a topical cream (that's means a cream rubbed into the skin). So no exemption for minors smoking.
    PLEASE stop with the hysteria, paranoia, and lies. Please read and THINK before you comment.

  15. tolerant
    Report Abuse
    tolerant - April 28, 2011 3:43 pm
    old joe 50 X 5 is 250......learn to do math

    AGAIN I ask you show me a limk to your "Harvard Study." Why would a law school do a study on cannabis????????????? Old dog educate yourself!
  16. Pot Stirrer
    Report Abuse
    Pot Stirrer - April 28, 2011 3:24 pm
    @Old Joe ... learn some math!
  17. Voice Of Reason
    Report Abuse
    Voice Of Reason - April 28, 2011 3:19 pm
    Old Joe,

    Your “Harvard Study” example is nothing more than a internet lie as the man behind the REAL Harvard studies, Prof. Lester Greenspoon, has said MANY times that Marijuana isn’t even close to being as bad for you as cigarettes, especially if consumed in any way other than smoking. Smoking ANYTHING, isn’t the best for you but smoking cannabis isn’t even in the same league as cigarettes… Which KILL 430,000 people annually. I suggest you rent, buy, download The Union to get a real understanding of the MMJ industry. Wake up and smell the coffee Joe.
  18. helenacare
    Report Abuse
    helenacare - April 28, 2011 3:06 pm
    I have a note here from me to the State Of Montana: I am never enrolling in a medical marijuana program ever again. It's none of your business why I smoke marijuana, who I get it from, and whom I share it with. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
  19. Old Joe
    Report Abuse
    Old Joe - April 28, 2011 2:28 pm
    If the governor believes marijuana is so healthful and medicinal, he ought to be trying some himself.

    Quote from article: "The 50-patient limit, he said, "will still certainly curtail the number of cardholders."

    The governor's suggestion won't curtail the number of provider's. So, that number is like pie.

    So, 50 patients X say 5 plants each = something like 2,500 plants per provider. Now, does that sound like a small operation to you?

    Governor Schweitzer you know better.

    You refuse to acknowledge the scientific studies (Harvard University) which so far have identified over 400 chemicals in marijuana. Some of these chemicals are specifically found only in marijuana. Over 60 are psychoactive. These chemicals have proven to raise blood pressure (red/bloodshot eyes is just one obvious sign.), lower testosterone, and compromises the immune system, which is contrary to what ill people should be doing to their body. One marijuana cigarette contains the same amount of toxins found in a pack of cigarettes. The same toxin identified as the primary cause of lung cancer in tobacco users, is also found in marijuana.

    While the marijuana industry is not concerned with educating people about scientific studies and facts, you as governor should be concerned about educating the people of your state who you claim to represent.

    You are not a physician Governor Schweitzer, and you should not be moonlighting as one either.



  20. nopurp
    Report Abuse
    nopurp - April 28, 2011 1:39 pm
    My God, how refreshing! Why is there so much sanity in the Governor's office and so little in the legislature?
  21. abcdef
    Report Abuse
    abcdef - April 28, 2011 1:28 pm
    Sounds reasonable, makes you wonder why these ideas where not presented in the first place. Better to have many small growers and we don’t need no stinking corporations.

    I want to see a doctor who is a medical marijuana specialist not someone limited to prescribing to 50 patients. Not someone filling a quota. Is a pain specialist limited to how many patients he can treat with narcotics?

    Vote to legalize marijuana. Vote to end capitalist oppression.
  22. RetCPO
    Report Abuse
    RetCPO - April 28, 2011 1:25 pm
    Don't turn patients into criminals.

    Veto.
  23. fitnessnovice
    Report Abuse
    fitnessnovice - April 28, 2011 1:24 pm
    I think these changes would make SB423 workable. Come on legislators. Last chance to save face.
  24. grmarheene
    Report Abuse
    grmarheene - April 28, 2011 1:21 pm
    This is as perfect as it's going to get---------THANK YOU GOVERNOR-----I knew he would come thru!!!
  25. jallenmt
    Report Abuse
    jallenmt - April 28, 2011 12:57 pm
    Sen. Jeff Essmann and his "Reefer Madness" watching Tea Party cohorts succeeded this week in overturning the will of the 63 of Montana voters who approved a referendum that allowed for the use of marijuana for those suffering from debilitating medical conditions. The scare tactics and misinformation that were employed in this campaign are worthy of Stalin's famous "Big Lie" tactic. If you tell a lie loud enough and often enough, it becomes the truth.

    Have there been abuses of the system? Very definitely. The so called "Caravans" that criss-crossed the state dealing out doctors signatures in return for a cash fee gave cards to some who should not have them. But, should the abuse issue be enough to cancel the entire program? Should the acts of some take away the rights of the many who have benefited greatly from the availability of this herbal remedy? Reform of a meaningful nature is certainly in order. All of the legitimate caregivers that I have spoken to welcome this. But enacting what amounts to an outright repeal is a clear case of over kill.

    My wife is a card holder. For her, this program has made a major impact on her quality of life. Before, she was taking large quantities of dangerous, extremely addictive painkillers that her doctors had prescribed to get through the day. These left her in a depressed haze most of the time. She has not had to refill this prescription literally since the first visit to her caregiver nearly a year ago. She has been given back her life. Essmann and his cohorts want to take it away from her again.

    We beseech the Governor to please take a very bold, politically dangerous step and outright veto this ill-conceived bill. The legislature can do a better job of reform than this. Make them create a system that works for those in need, not one that turns them into potential criminals for finding ways to obtain the medicine that has changed their lives
  26. Tri-pleX
    Report Abuse
    Tri-pleX - April 28, 2011 12:55 pm
    "--Require two physicians, rather than one, for a minor to be certified to be treated with medical marijuana in an edible form or topical cream."

    So it doesn't exempt a minor with chronic pain from being exempt to the current underage smoking regulations? Strange. How about also requiring parent or guardian consent in addition to physician? "Wrath of Mom" could avoid potential abuses before they even apply for a card.
  27. thatsjustme
    Report Abuse
    thatsjustme - April 28, 2011 12:51 pm
    Wow, I'm impressed. I agree with most everything. Does anyone know the statistics for the state of Montana, patients per physician (as a whole, not just MM users)? 50 patients per doctor seemed like a high number to me, but I don't know what the current statistics are, so I could be way off there. Otherwise, it sounds very logical to me. Thank goodness there's a politician out there with his head on straight.

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