VETO VETO VETO!!!!!

Posted: April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

  • House & Senate Both Accept Lousy SB 423
  • Montana Marijuana-Related Groups Issue Statement Calling for 2ndVeto
  • Time to Email/Call Governor Schweitzer to Urge Veto

 

 

House/Senate Both Accept Lousy SB 423

 

As expected, both the House and Senate this morning accepted the conference committee report on SB 423.  If rules are suspended, it is possible the bill will reach the Governor’s Office by late today or tomorrow, in time for an amendatory veto that could – could– greatly improve the bill.

 

You can check this morning’s vote outcomes here:

 

House

 

http://laws.leg.mt.gov/laws11/LAW0211W$BLAC.VoteTabulation?P_VOTE_SEQ=H2084

 

Senate

 

http://laws.leg.mt.gov/laws11/LAW0211W$BLAC.VoteTabulation?P_VOTE_SEQ=S1992

 

 

Montana Groups Issue Statement Calling for 2ndVeto

 

Shortly after the votes this morning, a coalition of Montana groups issued the following statement to news media:

Medical Cannabis Groups Call for 2ndVeto:

SB 423 is “Deliberately Unworkable, Repeal in Disguise”

 Montana’s medical cannabis-related groups together called on Governor Schweitzer to veto SB 423, saying that repeal of the 2004 voter initiative was unacceptable, and so is repeal in disguise.  SB 423 was written primarily by strong advocates of repeal, and is deliberately unworkable, the groups said.

Patients & Families United, the Montana Medical Growers Association, Solutions for Montana, Alliance for Cannabis Science, Montana Botanical Analysis, Cannabanalysis Laboratories, Citizens for Cannabis Comprehension, Montana Connect, and Montana NORML  issued a joint statement calling for the veto shortly after both the House and Senate passed a conference committee report on SB 423.  The long and complicated bill was itself written and completely rewritten several times over the past few weeks including more than 160 amendments which were hastily attached last week.

The groups’ statement:

“We came to the 2011 session seeking to work constructively with legislators, law enforcement and numerous civic groups to develop smart regulations that would close loopholes, end abuses, and create a strictly regulated program that would serve legitimate patients and meet the needs of law enforcement and local community values.  Unfortunately, the Legislature roundly rejected a number of bipartisan proposals that had strong support from all concerned. Ultimately, the views of physicians and patients were dismissed and the opinions of growers with a unique knowledge of the challenges involved in growing medical-grade cannabis were ignored.  Instead of ending up with workable but rigorous oversight we’ve been given a prospective wasteland, with the very best of what has emerged over the past few years potentially outlawed by the Legislature. This deliberately unworkable repeal in disguise deserves a veto brand as much as the repeal bill did.

“If SB 423 becomes law, Montana’s medical marijuana law will be more broken and riddled with ‘gray areas’ than ever and thousands of medically legitimate patients will suffer greatly. This hastily written bill, amended in its final draft more than 160 times, was crafted by legislators who know very little about the mechanics of producing medical grade cannabis and about the science of using cannabis as medicine – and it shows.  The bill contains ridiculous and often contradictory requirements that serve no useful purpose and that merely obstruct fulfillment of voter intent in passing Initiative 148.

“To illustrate some of SB 423’s impractical conditions, it makes it illegal for experts in growing medical cannabis to do so for large numbers of worthy patients, and instead allows only volunteers to grow, but for no more than three patients, in the patient’s home.  However, under the bill there is no legal way for anyone to obtain the seeds or clones necessary to start new plants for patients.  Additionally, the bill does not consider the length of time needed for plants to start producing cannabis, leaving severely ill patients without medicine…completely contradicting the intent of the 2004 Initiative.

“In addition, SB 423 requires those legally entitled to grow to be fingerprinted and to pass a background check, and to be willing to have their home “inspected” – without notice – at any time by local law enforcement, who will be informed of patients’ private medical status. Those patients needing to produce cannabis-infused products to eat would have to be able to prove to law enforcement that the kitchen contained all the equipment needed, none of which could ever be allowed to be used for anything else.  Any infused product would also have to carry a warning label, even though it was for the patient’s personal consumption.

“SB 423 will not work for patients, even those very few who are able, under its punitive terms, to obtain recommendations from physicians.  Among some of the bill’s other problems:

· Repeals the existing law, including the guarantee of confidentiality, – but doesn’t ensure the future confidentialityof the patients/caregivers currently registered.  SB 423 saysnothingabout what will happen to the current registry.

· Violates federal healthcare privacy rules by requiring local law enforcement to be informed of every patient’s status.

· To arbitrarily“shrink” the number of legal patients, SB 423 intrudes in unprecedented ways on physician standards of practice – requiring anyphysician to be investigated if more than 15 recommendations are made in a given year, and that the physician pay for all the investigations.  This provision seeks deliberately to deter physicians from making recommendations, regardless of the severity of a patient’s medical need.

· Requires two separate and costly physician exams for chronic pain patients who don’t have objective “proof” of the “etiology” of their severe, debilitating pain (which would be the vast majority of ordinary severe pain patients).

· Completely bans anyoneon probation – regardlessof how dire the person’s medical need or necessity might be – from being a legal patient. (In at least one case we know of, this could amount to a literal death sentence.)

· No one can grow for more than three patients – and those who grow may not share facilities or skills in order to maximize efficiency and minimize costs.

 . Growers/patients have to choose between using “infusible” cannabis products or “bud” for smoking – but can’t do both, which is what most patients have found they needto receive the medicinal benefits.

· Bans scientific laboratories that can test medical cannabis for safety, content, quality-control and dosage-control purposes.

· Possession limits and growing restrictions virtually guarantee that most all patients will NOT have reliable, consistent access to the cannabis that has allowed them to function without narcotics.  Prescriptions for which these patients no longer have as a ready alternative and will need to seek access.

· All medical marijuana must be “free” – regardless of its actual production cost.  Because of possession limits, SB 423 will require indoor growing, the least efficient and most expensive. Most current growers have found production costs can average almost $200 per ounce; much of which in utility/electricity costs. 

“SB 423 is written to fail patients, not to fulfill compassionate voter intent in ways that also will work well for law enforcement and communities.  We call on Governor Schweitzer to veto the bill and instead to aggressively use administrative authorities under the existing law to create effective regulation.”

# # #

 

Time to Call/Email Governor Schweitzer

 

If the Governor receives SB 423 while the Legislature is still in session, one of his options will be to issue an “amendatory veto,” in which he could propose changes to SB 423 in a “take it or leave it” move.  But if the Legislature has shut down by the time the bill gets to the Governor’s office, then his only choices would be to veto or accept the bill (with or without his actual signature).

 

It is now time to urge the Governor to Veto SB 423 unless he is willing and able to transformit into regulation that will actually workfor legitimate patients.

 

Here’s a site from which you can easily send your message to Governor Schweitzer:

 

http://www.montanadrugpolicy.org/alert/44

 

The Governor’s phone number is 406-444-3111.

 

 

 [Founded in early 2007, Patients & Families Unitedworks to support Montana’s medical marijuana patients, regardless of their medical condition, and pain patients, whether they use medical marijuana or not.  If you don’twant to be on the mailing list for these periodic updates, please email to tell us at info@mtpfu.org. Visit our website for background and information of use: www.mtpfu.orgWe welcome feedback of any kind, including stiff, honest criticism, but we reserve the right to remove from our mailing lists anyone who makes a habitual practice of sending threatening or irrational “flames.”]

 

© 2011byPatients & Families United

 

Patients & Families United
PO Box 1471
Helena, MT 59624

www.mtpfu.org

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