Missoula City Council passes resolution opposing medical marijuana repeal

In a roundabout way, Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir’s trip to Helena to testify for repealing the Medical Marijuana Act worked out well for Missoula.

So said Barry Adams, a military veteran and medical marijuana card holder who spoke Monday before the Missoula City Council in support of the 2004 citizen initiative.

“I want to thank the police chief for going there and speaking because otherwise, we wouldn’t have had the chance to have this debate,” said Adams, who chimed in at several points during the meeting.

After wordsmithing, the Missoula City Council voted 9-3 to approve a resolution opposing House Bill 161. The bill in Helena would repeal the Medical Marijuana Act, backed 3-to-1 in the city of Missoula in 2004 election.

The chief’s testimony that repeal was a “very viable option” sparked controversy in Missoula and even a call for the chief’s resignation by Montanans for Responsible Legislation. One veteran was less charitable than Adams about the police chief’s statements to the Montana Legislature.

In Helena for a hearing on the bill, Dennis Gulyas said Muir’s words and presence in uniform hurt the cause of veterans whom he represents. He called on the council to make amends with the resolution.

“I was there representing the veterans, and it did a lot of damage,” Gulyas said of the chief’s testimony.

Mayor John Engen continued to back Muir and said he has no interest in removing the police chief from his job. The chief offered legislators his perspective as a law enforcement officer, the mayor said – not the city’s official position.

“Mark Muir is a fantastic public servant,” said Engen, who said regulation and not repeal is the answer.

Pitched by Councilman Jason Wiener, the resolution as drafted notes the council doesn’t wish to overturn the will of the voters: “The Council opposes HB 161 and any attempts to overturn I-148 or to disallow the compassionate allowance for the medical use of marijuana … (the) Council requests the (administration) cease the advocacy of City … employees in their official capacity for repeal of (the Act).”

But some members of the public testified the act is being abused. Carrie Anderson, a nurse, said she sees pregnant women who tell her they consumed marijuana to deal with feeling nauseated. She said the nausea lasts just a few weeks, but the women keep smoking and harm their babies.

“I’ve seen that more than once,” Anderson said.

Councilors Lyn Hellegaard, Renee Mitchell and Dick Haines opposed the resolution.

via : Missoulian

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