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.


Judge rules to reopen Montana marijuana dispensaries immediately

A judge on Wednesday cleared the way for Montana's medical marijuana dispensaries to reopen after a three-month hiatus by ruling that a drafting error in a voter-approved ballot initiative should not delay the measure's implementation.

District Judge James Reynolds of Helena ruled the error that pushed back the effective date of a key portion of the initiative until July 1 should not keep very ill patients from accessing the drug immediately.

"The folks that are maybe the most in need are the least able to provide, to grow their own," Reynolds said in making his ruling. "I think speed is more important than niceties."


Montana Passes Measure to Expand Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana advocates saw big returns Tuesday night and Wednesday morning for ballot initiative 182, which would greatly expand the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday morning that the measure would pass. 

As of 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, voters favored the measure 238,602-183,923, with 422,525 ballots counted. The initiative was passing 56-43 percent at that time. 

The initiative got a boost from larger counties that reported partial results early. Missoula, Gallatin and Lewis and Clark counties showed strong leads for the initiative. 


'An Opportunity to Correct Course': Marijuana on the Ballot 2016

A potential sea change in marijuana legislation is coming, with ballot measures in several states giving voters the opportunity to make it legal for adults.

Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will vote on legalizing recreational marijuana, while ArkansasFloridaMontana, and North Dakota are considering medical marijuana initiatives.


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