How distracting is THC to drivers? Enough for a marijuana DUI fatal case to proceed, judge says

A district judge in Yellowstone County denied an attorney's challenge to the constitutionality of Montana's DUI law for marijuana.

Public defender Gregory Paskell argued that the 5 ng/mL blood content threshold that constitutes a DUI in Montana isn't supported as a scientific point of impairment.

Paskell represents Kent Roderick Jensen, 20, who was charged with vehicular homicide while under the influence after he crashed into a motorcycle in March 2016, killing the rider.

A blood test showed Jensen's blood contained 19 ng/mL of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.


Montana medical marijuana dispensary owner sentenced to federal prison

The former owner of Montana Buds, a statewide medical marijuana dispensary network, was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a drug charge.

Charlton Victor Campbell was sentenced by Chief District Court Judge Dana Christensen in U.S. District Court in Missoula. Following his incarceration, he will be under supervised release for an additional five years.

In March, Campbell pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana after signing a plea agreement with federal prosecutors that dismissed three other charges.

Under the agreement, Campbell also forfeited $30,000 in cash and gave up the Montana Buds properties in Bozeman to the federal government.


Montana preparing to collect 1st medical marijuana tax

State revenue officials are working on the roll-out of the latest medical marijuana program with a tax on the drug — the first of its kind in the state — which could increase the agency's capacity for handling cash.

Legislators passed SB333 this spring, adding a number of regulations to the program. That includes a gross sales tax that providers will start putting on the books on July 1.

The tax will be 4 percent of gross sales from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018. After that the tax will be 2 percent.


Montana: McLaughlin Research Institute Pitches Medical Marijuana Research Idea

The board chairman of the McLaughlin Research Institute floated an idea by lawmakers wrestling with medical marijuana legislation this session to have the facility be part of a program to test cannabis products.

In a March 15 email to some Great Falls legislators, Randy Gray said MRI could contract with the state Department of Public Health and Human Services to test the products and research cannabis addictive properties and ways to control them.

“The result would be efficient for Montana, effective for users of medical marijuana and helpful to stabilize and expand MRI’s science staff,” Gray states in his email that includes Democratic Rep. Tom Jacobson and GOP Sens. Brian Hoven and Ed Buttrey.


Montana: Bill proposes study on legalizing recreational marijuana for discussion in 2019 Legislature

A Helena legislator introduced a bill Thursday that would create a committee to study the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana in Montana for presentation to the 2019 Legislature.

House Joint Resolution 35, introduced by Rep. Mary Dunwell, D-Helena, would request the legislative committee which oversees interim committees to form one to “examine the legalization, regulation, taxation, and public health and safety aspects of recreational marijuana in Montana.”


Montana Supreme Court declines to intervene in 'usable' marijuana case

The Montana Supreme Court declined to step into the criminal case of a Montana medical marijuana patient who is challenging the possession limit statute.

The case of 65-year-old Wayne Steven Penning, who faces a felony count of criminal possession of dangerous drugs with intent to distribute, is still pending in Yellowstone County District Court.

In January, Penning had asked the Supreme Court to take over the case to consider his request to dismiss the charge. He argued that the medical marijuana statute, which limits cardholders to possession of one ounce of "usable" marijuana, is too vague. 

Penning was arrested for exceeding that limit in 2015 when a Montana Highway Patrol trooper stopped him with harvested marijuana from four of his plants. 


Montana Medical Marijuana Patient Seeks Ruling on 'Usable' Marijuana

A medical marijuana patient is asking the Montana Supreme Court to rule whether the state can prosecute him and other patients for possessing more than one ounce of marijuana, even if the plant is not yet dry.

Steven Penning filed the request earlier this month after District Judge Rod Souza denied his motion to dismiss a marijuana possession charge. Penning argued that the marijuana plants he had grown and harvested in October 2015 were not usable because they were not yet dry, The Billings Gazette reported.

State law defines usable marijuana, in part, as the dried leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant.


10 Places That Passed Landmark Marijuana Laws in 2016

2016 is a year that will live in infamy, but one clear winner across the board was cannabis. The United States watched as eight more states legalized cannabis for medical or recreational purposes, and the ripple effect of legalization has been felt throughout the globe. 

Revel in these states' and countries' cannabis victories and look to the future with renewed optimism. What will 2017 bring? We can't wait to find out! 


Marijuana Sales in 2016 Estimated Over $6.7 Billion

ArcView Market Research released their annual cannabis market summary, and the numbers are staggering for the legal marijuana industry. In their 4th edition of The State of Legal Marijuana Markets they report that an amazing 30% growth rate occurred in the industry, which makes it the fastest growing industry in the country by far. The pace is even greater than the dot-com era, which grew at only a 22% rate.


With federal changes looming, Montana legislators work on medical marijuana compromises

The upcoming Montana Legislature is likely to address many questions about medical marijuana, from taxes on its sale to cannabis storefronts, all while waiting to see what the Trump administration will do at the federal level.

Montana voters in November passed I-182, a citizen initiative that repealed the three-patient limit placed on medical marijuana providers, though language in the initiative initially prevented it from taking effect until June 30 — after the Legislature ends. A Dec. 7 district court ruling, however, implemented the new patient limits immediately.


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