On Monday, September 19, the Children and Families Interim Committee met and spent 45 minutes of the meeting on the medical marijuana program. The agenda included presentations by legislative staff, Sue O’Connell; Roy Kemp who administers the medical marijuana registry at the Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS); and Kate Cholewa of the Montana Cannabis Industry Association. There is a link to the audio of the meeting here. Representative Diane Sands also reported on her trip to Washington, D.C. and what she learned from her conversations there.
Unfortunately, Sands reported that largely the concerns we have here in Montana fall on deaf ears in D.C.. Federal law is federal law. Both Sands and the MTCIA reported to the committee the problem of business accounts of medical cannabis businesses in Montana being treated as money laundering under federal law. The committee seemed surprised that this was the case.
Cholewa reported on the lack of access that has occurred with the implementation of SB 423 and the jeopardy in which the legislature placed citizens, patients, and businesses by their attempt to reinstitute prohibition rather than regulate the cannabis system in accordance with the will of the voters. In their questions, some committee members seemed to try to lay the blame for the failed policy represented by SB 423 on the federal raids. The good news is, they were trying to blame something other than their own policy, which means, perhaps, they could recognize how bad the law they passed is.
It was not a meeting where decisions were made. It was more of an information sharing session.
A report from the Wheeler Conference, which commenced that evening, will be posted soon, as well as information in regards to recent correspondence from the office of our attorney, Jim Goetz.