Posted: Jul 8, 2013 6:39 PM by Keele Smith- KBZK News
Tonight, Bozeman City Commissioners are taking a look at the city's regulations regarding Medical Marijuana storefronts.
Montana's relationship with medical marijuana is a bit murky.
If you ask about Montana's medical marijuana laws--it's not always easy to get a clear answer.
Here's a look at the history and current state of things:
In 2004, voters approved the Medical Marijuana Act. The act was vaguely written and sought to allow patients the limited use of medical marijuana.
In 2011- the state legislature proposed House Bill 161 to effectively kill the act. The bill passed both houses, but former Governor Brian Schweitzer vetoed it.
The legislature then passed Senate Bill 423 to impose stricter regulations on medical marijuana--even without the Governor's approval.
"When Senate Bill 423 was due to go into effect, many providers and at least-if there are four left in Montana and there were 21 at the time-all of those people got out of the business," said Jim Gingery, former director of Montana Medical Growers Association.
The bill put a temporary injunction in place which is still in effect today.
According to the law, providers can only serve a maximum of 3 patients providers can't receive compensation for services they provide.
Gingery says that's when most dispensaries shut down.
"Because (you) couldn't afford to run a business and not make any money, Gingery said. "Those that remained are at some risk because the injunction could be lifted at any point in time."
If the injunction is lifted, providers could still grow marijuana but they would have to give it away for free.
"I think 423 will have to be totally repealed or significantly altered before anybody new gets into this business because the financial risk is too high.