Montana Expands Access to Medical Marijuana

Voters respond to a legislative crackdown.



Yesterday Montana voters approved a ballot initiative aimed at expanding patients' access to medical marijuana, which the state legislature sharply restricted in 2011. With almost all ballots counted, the medical marijuana measure, I-182, was favored by 55 percent of voters.

Montana voters approved medical marijuana in 2004 by a wide margin. But in 2011 the legislature cracked down on medical marijuana suppliers, limiting them to three patients each, banning medical marijuana ads, and requiring state review of doctors who recommend marijuana to more than 25 patients in a given year.

I-182 allows production and distribution of marijuana by state-licensed providers for treatment of specified medical conditions and others subsequently added by the legislature. It eliminates the caps of three patients per provider and 25 per doctor, adds post-traumatic stress disorder to the list of qualifying conditions, and eliminates the requirement of a second doctor's opinion for patients seeking marijuana for relief of chronic pain.

"This win happened because Montanans have seen medical marijuana in action for years, and they know it works," says Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell. "Hopefully the politicians who foolishly tried to eliminate the medical cannabis providers that serve so many patients will hear the message voters just sent."