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In a case that has implications for Colorado and other medical marijuana states, Montana legislator Diane Sands has come under investigation by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, but she doesn't know why. She suspects the investigation is related to her advocacy of liberalized marijuana laws.
Medical marijuana, in virtually every state where it is legal, operates under a set of rules not applied to such drugs as Oxycontin and Percocet. You can get fired from your job if you test positive for marijuana regardless of your medical status. You may not be allowed to use or possess marijuana if you are on probation. You'll pay taxes on your legal purchase of this legal medicine. In other words, most states seem to take a wink-wink approach to marijuana as medicine, implying that while it is legal it really isn't medicine and won't be treated as such.
Montana is a hotbed of contradiction, especially when it comes to medical marijuana. Voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana in 2004, but in 2011 the state legislature voted to dramatically restrict access to medical marijuana. Now, Montana PBS has produced an exemplary documentary, focusing on the medical uses of marijuana, with interviews with patients, doctors, scientists and medical marijuana critics.
Angering both sides, a judge in Montana has upheld some parts of the state's restrictive new medical marijuana laws and thrown other parts to the wind.
As Montana's medical marijuana law is set to be constricted to the point where almost no one will have access to it, hope is rising that a judge may strike at least parts of the law this week.
"It was the humanitarian thing to do," said Dr. Chris Christensen about recommending cannabis for Cash Hyde. "There was a very high probability of fatality with any course of therapy," he said about the boy, who was one year old when he was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer.
A Montana legislator is floating a radical idea--that the feds should leave the states alone when it comes to medical marijuana. Specifically, she said marijuana should be delisted at the federal level.
In Montana, where the state legislature all but repealed the state's medical marijuana laws this spring, the court battle has begun--as has the battle for public opinion. The Montana Cannabis Industry Association filed suit to block implementation of the law. Now, the state has responded with court filings of its own.
On Friday, shortly after legislation essentially banning medical marijuana in Montana took effect, a judge said 'not so fast' and signed an order temporarily stopping some parts of the law from being enacted.
In Montana, even though a new law severely restricting medical marijuana won't take effect until July 1, the repercussions are already being felt as businesses are closing, often in the middle of the night and leaving vacant properties and unfulfilled leases from one end of the state to the next.
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