Montana House votes to repeal medical marijuana law

The Montana House of Representatives voted 63-37 yesterday to overturn that state’s medical marijuana law. The State Senate is expected to follow suit soon. Both houses are controlled by Republicans.

Montana politicos say they aren’t sure what to expect from Governor Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat.

From today’s New York Times:

“We were duped,” said the House speaker, Mike Milburn, a Republican and sponsor of the repeal bill, who said he thought that the arguments about medical use had been a pretext for encouraging recreational use and creating a path to full legalization. He said he feared gang drug wars in Montana’s cities and debilitation of its youth.

“This bill says, Shut down everything — it’s gone way too far,” Mr. Milburn told the chamber before the vote.

The State Senate, also controlled by the Republicans, will also consider the measure, and House members will have an opportunity to vote on it again as early as Friday before sending it there. If passed by the Senate it would face an uncertain fate on the desk of Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat.

Mr. Schweitzer has said he believes the laws need to be tightened, but he has not taken a position on repeal. His spokeswoman, Sarah Elliott, said in an e-mail, “The business has gotten out ahead of the regulatory environment, and we need to build some boundaries.”

In Colorado Thursday a bill that would have prohibited the sale of edible marijuana was pulled for revisions that will keep ingestible marijuana legal in Colorado.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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