In these first days of the 2017 Legislative Session, it seems legislators do not have the blood thirst to kill the medical marijuana program that has been evidenced in the past. This is good news. However, there are new and different fronts that require attention and work.
Generally speaking, there seems to be some interest in reaping the benefits (revenue, that is) of a recreational program from Montana’s modest medical program. Though most legislators do not appear to be intending to walk back the progress towards a responsible and accountable program made by I-182, some are floating ideas that could create bumps and challenges to access. We will report on them if these ideas get traction.
Further, some are suggesting replacing our evolving regulatory system with an entirely new system which would destabilize, once again, the medical marijuana program in Montana. Right now, it’s talk in the hallways. Again, the MTCIA will report if such talk becomes action.
Meanwhile, the MTCIA is seeking to forward provisions that move our program towards being Transparent, Contained, Safe, and Functional.
- A tracking system designed to meet the needs of Montana’s program
- A volume management model that moves the state away from the plants per patient model to a model more scientifically based and assuring “tiers” so that there are options in Montana as to a provider’s size.
- Mandatory testing only when there is a standardized, available, affordable testing network in place. I-182 allowed for cannabis testing. With the proper system in place, the MTCIA supports mandatory testing for potency and pesticides.
- Inclusion of concentrates in the definition of medical marijuana. Some of Montana’s most seriously ill cancer patients rely on concentrates such as Phoenix Tears to address their conditions. Other states include concentrates as allowable medical cannabis products. Montana citizens deserve no less.
- Five year residency requirement. As we know, a poorly regulated system can attract bad actors. A well-regulated system attracts another kind of actor: Out-of-state interest by those who have established themselves in other states and are looking to expand their interests in Montana. The MTCIA believes the program needs to be protected from a “green rush” mentality that can de-stabilize the program just when it is on the right track to proper regulation. The MTCIA believes policies like tracking systems and a canopy model for volume management are provisions that assure all medical cannabis products remain in-state. Let’s keep the medical cannabis economy in-state, too.
The MTCIA supports the first three provisions above going into effect in a year to eighteen months from the end of the session. The MTCIA supports allowing concentrates and the expanded residency requirement going into effect as soon as possible.
The MTCIA is working at the Capitol to
- Protect the progress made by the initiative
- Protect the program from exploitation
- Protect patient access
- Move the program forward
These are our goals. But we need support to do the work.
The MTCIA has:
- Protected access with a lawsuit for five years.
- Re-established access and created a more responsible, accountable program with a citizens’ initiative
- Is working now to protect and develop the Montana medical marijuana program to one that is transparent, contained, safe, and functional.
But as always, our ability to do the work is dependent on funding. It’s part of the reality of this historical shift in the legal status of cannabis. Please support the work of the MTCIA so that we can work for you.
To support our work or become a member, please contact our Treasurer at [email protected]
Visit our Donor Wall and learn who has done the work of protecting access in Montana and please support them by choosing a provider who has committed themselves to protecting patient access and a safe program in Montana.