Montana residents wants stricter pot rules, poll shows

Eighty-three percent of Montana residents polled recently said they think the state needs stricter medical marijuana laws and regulations. More than half of those polled said the law has not worked out as well as they expected when it was passed in 2004.

All of that notwithstanding, the Missoulian reported over the weekend on a protest march pitting medical marijuana supporters against federal law enforcement agencies that raided a number of medical marijuana businesses a week ago.

About the protest:

Shouts of protest filled the streets of downtown Missoula on Saturday as medical marijuana advocates, angered by the raids of cannabis facilities across Montana last week, rallied in support of their right to use marijuana for medical purposes.

“DEA, go away!”

It was a line repeated over and over as more than a hundred people wielding signs that read “No Plant Left Behind,” “We are not criminals” and “Feds Hands Off My Meds” marched from Caras Park to the Missoula County Courthouse and back. There were families, veterans, college students and medical marijuana caregivers. At times, a faint scent of marijuana drifted through the crowd.

As Colorado struggles with its own medical marijuana rules and regulations, Montana seems to have become ground zero. Earlier this year, the Montana House voted to overturn the state’s medical marijuana laws altogether. That measure died in the State Senate on a tie vote in committee.

Tomorrow the Colorado House of Representatives is scheduled for a floor vote on HB 1261, which would set a per se level for marijuana intoxication. If the bill passes, marijuana impairment would be measured in much the same way that alcohol impairment is now measured. Anyone who tests above the legal limit for THC would be considered impaired.

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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