House Speaker’s Bill to Repeal Medical Marijuana Advances

Posted on February 10, 2011

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By CODY BLOOMSBURG

HELENA — The House gave its initial approval today to repealing Montana’s voter-approved medical marijuana law.

Lawmakers voted 63-37 to endorse House Bill 161, by Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade. Six Republicans against the measure and one Democrat for it.

Milburn said the state’s medical marijuana use and the industry that supports it have expanded far beyond what most voters had intended. He said it has led to children prostituting themselves to get drugs.

The only solution, he argued, was repeal.

“We’re talking about a totally uncontrollable epidemic,” he said.

But Rep. Timothy Furey, D-Milltown, argued that most patients are honest, hardworking people, or people hoping to heal enough to become hardworking.

Rep. Pat Noonan, D-Ramsay, said the problems surrounding the act are the direct result of the Legislature’s inaction on the issue since its approval.

He urged legislators to respect voters’ wishes and consider other bills to better regulate the drug and the industry.

“Do the thing you were elected to do and that is to govern,” he said. “I would ask that you don’t vote against the citizens vote.”

The bill was referred to the appropriations committee after the vote and is not yet scheduled for a final vote.

– Reporter Cody Bloomsburg can be reached at 208-816-0809 or by e-mail at crbloomsburg@hotmail.com

Posted in: Daily Grind