As recently as May 2019, Medical Marijuana laws have been updated in the state of Montana. The original law was passed in 2004 and since then it has been revised to keep up with the changing laws of the state and the newest one just went into effect on May 3, 2019. It alters the regulations and laws for the medical marijuana patients, but also the providers, the caregivers, and the dispensaries.
The State of Montana is temporarily suspending new dispensary applications from being submitted. They are waiting for existing dispensaries to renew their licenses and balance the requirements of the seed-to-sale program which allows growers to grow the various strains. The new license will not be issued until the current bunch of dispensaries has met the existing requirements to continue operation and are renewed.
The State is trying to take an active step in making sure marijuana patients have no delay in looking for and ultimately getting the correct strains to treat their ailments. They have started to issue a temporary card up to the receipt of an application so that there is little wait time to get the products. Currently, new cards are being issued on the same date as the application is received. Providers are still not allowed to issue their own or sell a product to a person who only has an application number and not an authorized state number.
The patient is still required to find and pay for their own physician. Providers are not allowed to arrange for or pay for a person to visit a physician. Any provider who has been arranging for patients to see and is paying for physician visits will be contacted by the State of Montana marijuana regulations industry. This includes making contact through dispensaries, websites, and social media.
There is also Bill 265 which is making its way through the State of Montana courts. If passed, this bill will allow for patients to buy for whichever provider they choose to purchase their supplies from not just the one single provider that is currently allowed. They will also be limited in the purchasing power and are restricted in purchasing five ounces of marijuana per month and one ounce per day. The Bill is also set to raise taxes on marijuana providers from 2 percent to 4 percent with this increase going into effect in October 2019 and ending in September 2021.
What makes Bill 265 great for providers is that with their patients no longer being tied to their stores they can focus on their growing operations and work on better developing their own strains and specializing their stock. Such as one provider providing more flowers and grass because they are an expert at growing them and another focusing on edibles because their plant products don’t turn out well for smoking.
This new freedom will allow more creativity to enter the Montana medical marijuana industry and push them closer to allowing for more legal freedoms in terms of products produced and the variety of them. This means that more exploration can be done into the difference in pain management educating people about the Opioid crisis that has hit Montana State hard.
Marijuana has nothing to do with the opioid crisis, but a lot of people in the State equate marijuana with the Federal Government definition of marijuana as a dangerous drug. It isn’t dangerous and it is not part of the opioid crisis, but that does not matter for a lot of states. The new Bills and the changes to the state will bring more education to the region about what makes a drug dangerous and why marijuana isn’t it. Even with Bill 265 passing many see the state as being too vague with their laws and that there hasn’t been enough enforcement to prevent the misuse and abuse of marijuana especially for by those that are not meant to have it.
The State still views the use of marijuana within the state as medicine, but there are many who are actively working to make marijuana illegal again for all people. While this is not something that is going to change soon, there is enough opposition to the state moving forward with its medical marijuana program to keep it moving slowly.
The miss-information and the general lack of medical understanding are making the growth of medical marijuana in this state more difficult for everyone especially those that need this the most. It’s being treated as a dangerous substance because the Federal Government labeled it as such. The coming years and with the help of better laws and more education about the good marijuana does will push the State and the people to act in the best interests of all the people who need alternative medicine.