After almost a year of talk, lawmakers in Helena finally wrapped up changes to the last measure that could change Montana’s medical marijuana industry.
NBCMontana is following the bill as it moves toward votes in the House and Senate.
It’s called Senate Bill 423, but industry insiders are calling it the Black Market Bill. One thing is certain, if it becomes law there will be some big changes come July 1.
SB 423 has gone through 167 amendments since going before a state conference committee. The bill headed to the House and Senate has the medical marijuana industry worried.
“It would be so restrictive and so onerous it would shut down every dispensary in the state and it would basically drive everything back to the black market,” says cannabis business consultant Tayln Lang.
Here are some facts we found in the Senate bill:
– Patients would have to prove they are Montana residents.
– Patients must file a statement from their treating physician.
– Anyone on probation within the Department of Corrections will not be allowed to get a card.
– Users can’t drive while under the influence of marijuana.
“If you have five nanograms per milliliter of cannabis in your system at any time when you get pulled over you would be considered DUI regardless of your level of impermanent. That means that potentially every person who uses marijuana in the state of Montana could be considered DUI if they get behind the wheel of a car,” says Lang.
Restrictions on providers increase dramatically with the new legislation. Providers will still be allowed to be cardholders, but they are only allowed to assist three cardholders at a time and cannot make any profit from their service or the marijuana.
“The financial impact of what this will do if this industry goes away is going to be extremely significant,” says Lang.
The bill is detailed about what physicians should be looking for when prescribing medical marijuana, including what conditions are acceptable and how painful the claim of chronic pain must be. The law also prohibits any doctor from prescribing marijuana over the phone or the internet.
The bill will have to pass the House and Senate before the session ends next week in order to make it to the Governor’s desk.
Some more facts about the medical marijuana reform bill:
– The Department of Health and Human Services would provide the name of any physician prescribing marijuana to 15 or more patients a year to the state board of medical examiners.
– Anyone who isn’t up-to-date on their taxes or owing child support can’t be a provider.
via : NBC Montana
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