MMJ History in MT

Here – I will link all news stories from the Helena Independent Record

This will be ongoing – and I hope a good reference for the Medical Marijuana history in Montana.

Starting from WAYYYYYY back……interesting to watch the prohibition roll forward.


Govenor candidates against medical marijuana use

Saying no to the suffering


Editorial: A defeat for medical pot

New DEA chief to enforce ban on medical marijuana


Group considers ballot run for medical marijuana

Propositions across the country

Medicinal marijuana users largely older, male


Panel OKs medical marijuana

Dr Russo involved in this action above. He was a neurologist in Missoula at the time – 2 years after they studied the Federal Patients at U of M.

House kills medical marijuana bill

Highlights from the 2003 Legislature

Oregon’s medical marijuana program runs a surplus

Canadian government to sell marijuana, seeds for medical use

States favoring alternatives to tough drug policies

Court ruling helps medical marijuana

This ruling was out of CA and protected Dr’s for referring. Angel Raich

Readers back medical pot


Medical marijuana drive begins

Gubernatorial candidates discuss legalization of medical marijuana

Woman’s fight for medical marijuana gone to a new high

Who are the people behind those ballot clipboards?

Court to hear challenge to medical marijuana

Long rider’s long shot

Howard Woolridge – LEAP

Tobacco tax, marijuana qualify

Montanans to decide on medical marijuana in November

When Larry Rathbun was arrested by Dawson County sheriff’s deputies on marijuana charges in December 1999, he said his multiple sclerosis was under control and he was still able to walk and ride his horses.

But when this former eastern Montana resident was released from Montana State Prison in 2002, he rolled out the front gate in a wheelchair.

Rathbun, 54, has suffered from degenerative multiple sclerosis since 1971. He said he has long smoked marijuana to ease his muscle spasms, pain, depression and loss of appetite.

He credits the illegal plant with keeping him out of a wheelchair for so long. And he blames the stress of prison, and the time he spent without his drug of choice, for his accelerated degeneration.

By The Helena IR – 08/04/04 | Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2004 12:00 am | (0) Comments 

Letter to the editor

Pot facts

The Sunday, Aug. 1 IR front page article on the medical marijuana initiative shows the cut and dried media bias that has prevented honest discussion of this topic for years. “Hemp” was touted as the billion dollar crop for America’s depression-ravaged heartland farmers in 1936. It wasn’t for the “recreational drug use” of marijuana, it was for the practical application and use in making “plastics.” In 1937 DuPont patented the process for making the synthetic plastic, nylon. In 1937 hemp was declared a dangerous drug and deemed illegal to grow and sell. Not without at least a little concern for America’s Canary Growers Association, as hemp seeds were the number one source of food for their precious birds. Hemp seeds are the number two source of protein in the world, second only to the soy bean. Medical uses you say? It was the number three “prescribed” drug in the country prior to being made illegal. As a recreational drug it is far less dangerous than alcohol which can be bought in any grocery store. An overdose of alcohol will kill you. An overdose of marijuana will make you take a nap. Yes, that’s a dangerous drug.

Lyle Myhr Jr

4960 Silver Creek Road

Detroit medical pot vote buoys state advocates

By The Helena IR – 08/18/04 | Posted: Wednesday, August 18, 2004 12:00 am | (0) Comments

Facts, not fear

Thank you for your article discussing Larry Rathbun, the MS patient imprisoned for treating his MS with medical marijuana. While the article was very positive overall, the opponents’ arguments were based on fear, rather than fact.

Opponents predict that I-148 would create a law-enforcement nightmare. Yet, in 2002, a Congress investigation found that medical marijuana laws did not hinder law enforcement efforts.

Opponents also focus on teens’ treatment for marijuana use. Yet in states with medical marijuana laws, teen’s use of marijuana declined. In fact, California’s Office of the Attorney General found that since the state passed its medical marijuana initiative, marijuana use among teens has dropped, in some age categories by as much as 40 percent.

Nine states have passed medical marijuana laws since 1996. Those laws have not led to an increase in recreational drug use, nor have they caused law enforcement problems.

As for marijuana’s medical value, many professional medical associations have endorsed using medical marijuana under a doctor’s supervision. Furthermore, a study commissioned by the White House found that medical marijuana can reduce pain, nausea, and appetite loss.

I trust Montana voters will make an informed decision, in favor of I-148, based on facts, not fear.

Paul Befumo

Medical Marijuana Policy Project of Montana

2120 S. Reserve Street, #235


Advocates cite Calif. pot-use study

treating addiction

Medical pot measure sparks opposition in Oregon

Montana women more liberal

Voters like tobacco tax, traditional marriage

Drug czar stumps against I-148

Burns, who made a stop in Helena while on a multi-city Montana tour, spent most of his brief time talking against Initiative 148, a measure on the Nov. 2 ballot that would permit some patients to smoke marijuana for medical purposes.

‘‘I’m not here to tell everyone how to vote,” Burns said. ‘‘But I am here to talk to you about the realities of marijuana.”

Burns said medical marijuana laws send the wrong message to children about the drug, since no ‘‘credible” medical authority, such as the American Medical Association, has ever reported that marijuana is an effective medicine.

Burns said he doesn’t doubt that marijuana makes terminally ill patients ‘‘feel better,” but said the logic doesn’t hold, since other illicit drugs would have the same effect.

‘‘That doesn’t mean we prescribe crack cocaine,” Burns said. ‘‘There are better and more effective treatments than marijuana.”

But supporters of the medical marijuana initiative said Burns’ isn’t telling — or doesn’t know — the whole story.


They didn’t then – and STILL lie today.

Even as early as 10-7-2004 the American Medical Association had sanctioned and approved continuing education credits for Physicians in Cannabinoid medicine through Patients Out of Time.

Learn more here:

Mom feared for her family

HELENA – In the last few months of his short life, Travis Michalski of Helena had lost a third of his body weight.

His skinny frame was wracked with so much pain, he couldn’t bear his families’ hugs. And the powerful medications his oncologist gave him to combat the torment of terminal cancer wouldn’t stay down.

Three states weigh marijuana issues this year

By The Helena IR – 10/15/04 | Posted: Friday, October 15, 2004 12:00 am | (0) Comments

OK medical pot

Thank you for your touching article about Teresa Michalski, the Helena woman who courageously allowed her dying son to use medical marijuana. I know the Michalskis’ fear of arrest all too well. In May, I was charged with possessing medical marijuana.

It’s time to stop the cruel prosecution of the seriously ill by passing I-148. Voters should reject the deliberate distortions of the nation’s drug czar. Last week, he used taxpayer dollars to campaign against Montana’s ballot issue and spread misinformation, including the claim that no credible medical authority considers marijuana an effective medicine.

But the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Public Health Association, and the American Nurses Association all support medical marijuana.

Sadly, Burns also threatened federal prosecution of the seriously ill. But the federal government is responsible for only one in every 100 marijuana arrests; the other 99 percent are made by state and local authorities — meaning 99 percent of medical marijuana arrests in Montana would be prevented by I-148’s passage.

Please vote for I-148, so that the seriously ill can use an effective medicine in the privacy of their homes without risking their freedom and property.

Robin C. Prosser

1405 E. Broadway


By The Helena IR – 10/19/04 | Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 12:00 am | (0) Comments

Letters to the Editor

Rampage of lies

I’m disgusted at the federal government’s abuse of our tax dollars by sending the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s deputy drug czar, Scott Burns, on a rampage of lies through our state. Sent here as a result of the voter initiative brought about by the citizens of Montana concerning the protection of users of medical marijuana from federal agents, Mr. Burns made three stops in Montana during which he demonized those citizens by stating, “This is a con” and “…it’s about the children.” Well, it is about the children, and they have nothing to fear from a state that is compassionate for it’s own suffering people. Mr. Burns also stated “smoking this weed is not a medicine.” Well, I trust the American Nurses Association and countless other reputable sources far more than Mr. Scott Burns. How does Mr. Burns respond to Teresa Michalski whose son, Travis, died last year due to Hodgkin’s. When prescription medicines didn’t help his nausea, his pain, or his appetite loss, medical marijuana did.

I-148 is trying to protect the sick and dying from being caught up in our failed “war on drugs.” I don’t pay my tax dollars to be told how I should feel.

Adam Jones

1612 Lakeside Dr

By The Helena IR – 10/20/04 | Posted: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 12:00 am | (0) Comments

Medical pot

Initiative 148 would allow for the “medical” use of marijuana in Montana. It provides a ray of hope and an element of humanism for Montanans suffering from serious illnesses. My brother, now deceased from Hodgkin’s’ disease, used marijuana to obtain relief from post-chemotherapy nausea and lack of appetite. Another friend with multiple sclerosis finds relief from painful muscle spasms. Neither of these individuals fits the mold of a “drug user.” They are examples of why Montana needs to get on board with medicinal use of marijuana.

As a former drug treatment counselor, it bothers me to hear some professionals suggest we shouldn’t allow the use of marijuana because it’s an illicit drug, or because it’s a step backwards in our “war on drugs.” Better we should spend our time addressing the serious problems we face with more dangerous drugs like methamphetamine.

We have numerous “dangerous” prescriptive drugs that are specially classified and controlled, for specific uses, and there’s no reason not to allow marijuana use for those for whom research has shown it helps provide relief. I hope Montanans will do the right thing, and say “yes” to those with major illnesses, who could obtain relief by passage of I-148.

Bill Crivello

711 North Rodney St.

Martz rails against medical marijuana

Voters support gay marriage ban, medical marijuana

Cyanide, no. Tobacco tax, yes

By The Helena IR – 10/28/04 | Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2004 12:00 am | (0) Comments

Letters to the editor

Help sufferers

Governor Martz’s recent remarks in opposition to I-148 were disappointing. Allowing suffering patients to use marijuana legally isn’t about legalizing the drug for everyone. And to throw in the fact that nearly half of our high schools students smoke marijuana! The issue there, Judy, is why do they smoke pot? Or, why do they abuse other substances, for that matter — such as alcohol? Alcohol and drugs — prescriptive or non — are not in and of themselves bad. It is what people do with them. Kids who get hooked on alcohol and drugs have problems, and that is where we need to focus! Let’s not confuse folks over what I-148 is really about.

Okay—so it shakes “the foundation of our medical system” to suggest a natural substance can help ease suffering. Why do you suppose so many people use herbs, acupuncture and other “non-traditional” modalities? Our great advanced medical sciences have not come up with every solution. As for synthetic marijuana, I have a sister-in-law who tried it while battling colon cancer, but it didn’t help. Initiative 148 recognizes that medical “science” doesn’t have all the answers, but those who obtain relief from marijuana should not be made criminals.

Bill Crivello

711 North Rodney St.

A look at newspaper endorsements

n I-148 (to legalize marijuana used for medical purposes). Four newspapers Billings Gazette, Montana Standard, Great Falls Tribune and Helena Independent Record backed I-148, while the Bozeman Chronicle opposed it.

Medical marijuana initiative passes

Clashes continue over medical marijuana

The case is Ashcroft v. Raich, 03-1454.

On the Net:

Supreme Court:

Marijuana case enlightens public, Missoula user says

MISSOULA – Robin Prosser fully expects the U.S. Supreme Court will allow the federal government to arrest and prosecute sick people who use marijuana for medical purposes, even in states that have legalized it.

Why do voters always pick pot? medical

By The Helena IR – 12/08/04 | Posted: Wednesday, December 8, 2004 12:00 am | (0) Comments

Regarding pot

Regarding your thoughtful Nov. 30 editorial on medical marijuana, if health outcomes determined drug laws instead of cultural norms marijuana would be legal. Unlike alcohol, marijuana has never been shown to cause an overdose death, nor does it share the addictive properties of tobacco. Marijuana can be harmful if abused, but jail cells are inappropriate as health interventions and ineffective as deterrents.

The first marijuana laws were enacted in response to Mexican migration during the early 1900s, despite opposition from the American Medical Association. Dire warnings that marijuana inspires homicidal rages have been counterproductive at best. White Americans did not even begin to smoke pot until a soon-to-be entrenched government bureaucracy began funding reefer madness propaganda.

By raiding voter-approved medical marijuana providers in California, the very same U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that claims illicit drug use funds terrorism is forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hands of street dealers. Apparently marijuana prohibition is more important than protecting the country from terrorism.

The following Virginia Law Review article offers a good overview of the racist roots of early marijuana legislation:

Robert Sharpe, MPA

Policy Analyst

Common Sense for Drug Policy

P.O. Box 59181

Washington, DC 20012

Pot registry fee draws criticism

Local legislators making mark on 2005 Legislature


Legal questions remain for users of medical marijuana

House GOP rips court, Democrats

By The Helena IR – 01/06/05 | Posted: Thursday, January 6, 2005 12:00 am | (0) Comments

Letters to the editor

A stormy start

At a stormy house Republican caucus Sunday, angry members railed for more than an hour against the Montana Supreme Court and the Montana Democratic Party: “We’re not going to be governed by a bunch of despots in black robes.” There’s either a sickness over there (referring to the Supreme Court) or they’re into the “medical marijuana.” “We got screwed by the Democrats in redistricting” (quotes from an article in Jan. 3 IR by Charles S. Johnson entitled: House GOP rips court, Democrats.

I never thought I would refer to the Montana Legislature as a Garden of Eden, but given the venom spewed in Monday’s IR, I can only imagine the disaster of biblical proportions awaiting us if some members of the Legislature don’t rein in their emotions. (I recommend a cold shower.)

There are immense challenges facing our newly elected Legislature and governor. I humbly offer these words of advice from my late father: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Montanans are tired of partisan bickering; grow up, play nice and give us a session that you and we will look back on with pride. It’s not too late, it’s only week one.

John Ilgenfritz

1001 Harrison Ave.

Group will help pay for medical pot registration

Police say medical marijuana-related assault and robbery crimes likely under new program

Marijuana group claims feds broke Montana campaign law

Medical marijuana has hazy outlook

Schweitzer in national media spotlight

Chronic pain and the DEA

AIDS patient runs into medical marijuana gridlock

Hemp supporters hold rally near Sturgis

High-profile issues, possible departure await high court

Medical users of marijuana await Supreme Court ruling

Robert Melamede’s guidelines for better living go something like this: eat right, exercise and use a little marijuana.

The biology department chairman at vhe University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is among the state’s 625 registered legal users of marijuana for medical reasons. He says it eases the pain of his spinal arthritis.

Feds may go after sick people who use pot

The closely watched case was an appeal by the Bush administration in a case that it lost in late 2003. At issue was whether the prosecution of medical marijuana users under the federal Controlled Substances Act was constitutional.

Under the Constitution, Congress may pass laws regulating a state’s economic activity so long as it involves “interstate commerce” that crosses state borders. The California marijuana in question was homegrown, distributed to patients without charge and without crossing state lines.

Mother recounts son’s battle with cancer; joins in medical marijuana campaign

Medical marijuana

Attorney General Mike McGrath said Monday that law is still valid and the 119 Montanans who have since registered with the state to lawfully use medical marijuana will not be prosecuted. McGrath further said that state officers, even if they were funded with federal dollars, would not go after lawful medical pot smokers in the state.

“We still have a valid law and certainly that would be a defense to any state prosecution,” McGrath said. “I’m quite sure no county attorney would consider filing a (marijuana) case under these circumstances.”

McGrath said he didn’t think local authorities would investigate medical marijuana cases. Even if they did, he said, “Once they found out the person was following the provisions of I-148, we will advise our drug investigators that that’s the end of it.”

State’s medical pot law stands

Ridiculous court ruling

By The Helena IR – 06/15/05 | Posted: Wednesday, June 15, 2005 12:00 am | (0) Comments

Medical pot

The recent Supreme Court ruling on medical marijuana is telling in more ways than one. They have admitted that they (the federal government) have no real authority over INTRAstate commerce, but that in this situation they “feel” that even if the states who have passed medical marijuana legislation did it correctly the marijuana “could” end up being sent across state lines thereby creating INTERstate commerce which Congress can “regulate.” So we are back again to punishing people for a crime that “could” be committed. The answer, all states must pass medical marijuana legislation NOW. Another answer would be to remove all of the old cronies from Congress who feel that having an erection, whether or not you are a convicted sex offender, is a “constitutional right” that you should PAY FOR with your tax dollars through MEDICAID. Of course we could just remember that “regulate” means regulate and not BAN. It would make a fine episode for “Numbers” since it is all about the “money.” It always has been.

Lyle Myhr Jr

4960 Silver Creek Road

Oregon resumes issuing medical marijuana cards

Crackdown targets marijuana dispensaries in Northern California

California suspends medical pot card program

Medical pot group demands disclosure

By The Helena IR – 8/14/05 | Posted: Sunday, August 14, 2005 12:00 am | (0) Comments

Why take his pot?

Steve McWilliams, a long-time San Diego medical-marijuana activist, died last month. McWilliams, who suffered from chronic pain, had to stop using medical pot after his arrest by federal agents in 2002.

Last month the Supreme Court decided that the federal laws prohibiting even the growing of hemp to precedence or the Compassionate Use Act passed by California voters. Facing prison for possessing 25 marijuana plants, and deprived of his lawful right to relieve his pain as he saw fit, McWilliams chose death and committed suicide.

Friends described McWilliams as a genuinely kind-hearted person and an activist of the best kind. I didn’t know Steve, yet somehow I miss him, miss him and wonder why we had to take his pot away.

Michael Rissman

807 8th, No. 2

National group pushes for legalizing marijuana

Pair sue over search by drug task force agents


New medical marijuana law doesn’t say where patients will get pot

Deal reached in Limbaugh drug case

Mexico may decriminalize small amounts of drugs

Williams joins push for medical marijuana law

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Television personality Montel Williams plans to tell a New Jersey senate panel on Thursday how marijuana relieves his chronic pain caused by multiple sclerosis, and urge New Jersey lawmakers to enact medical marijuana laws, as 11 other states already have.

Williams, 49, who was diagnosed with MS seven years ago, said he turned to marijuana to relieve debilitating knee and foot pain after trying Oxycontin and a variety of other drugs to no avail.

Williams, a registered medical marijuana user in California, said he became an activist pushing for medical marijuana laws after being stopped at a Detroit airport by an Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms officer for carrying drug paraphernalia. The charge was later dropped.

Pot dispensaries sprout in California

Legal relief

Roy Kemp keeps a freestanding computer locked away in his office. It’s not connected to any outside network, server or telephone line. Only he knows the names written on its hard drive.

Names like Ed, a man who suffers from Hepetitis C, a painful disease of the liver. And Richard, a husband who grows marijuana for his ailing wife and two other patients.

While Ed, Richard and Mr. Kemp each lead different lives in different corners of the state, they’re all linked by that single computer — a lone database that tracks anyone registered in Montana’s medical marijuana program.

There are more than 305 names inside that computer. They represent patients, doctors and caregivers who, in some way, believe marijuana can ease the pain of the sick and dying.


Hearings calendar

Lobby wants changes to medical marijuana rules

Yesterday at a glance

Medical-marijuana-law supporter want limits upped

Medical marijuana bill shelved

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