My Latest at Leafly: Will Montana Voters Reinstate Medical Cannabis?

A sign on a dispensary door in Missoula, MT.

You might recall that a few months ago, I started down a rather long road toward getting my medical marijuana card in the state of Montana. Well, things have gotten even crazier, and I wrote about it for Leafly!

I have had rheumatoid arthritis since I was an infant, and I’m used to dealing with the pain, stiffness, fatigue, and other symptoms of the disease. But when I moved to Montana last year, I began to experience truly horrendous insomnia. The lack of sleep (I’m talking 3 to 4 hours a night, for weeks at a time) kicked up all of my arthritis symptoms until I was basically a pile of aches and irritability. When it finally occurred to me that my condition would qualify me for a medical cannabis card that might help to relieve my insomnia and get everything under control, I was ecstatic.

But when I went to the dispensary to talk to someone about how to start the process of getting my card, it turned out that earlier that day, the Montana State Supreme Court had ruled in favor of draconian provisions of a 2011 Senate Bill that effectively regulated the medical cannabis system in the state out of existence. (I wrote about my experience here.)

The provisions didn’t go into effect until August 31, so I decided to go for it, and after much shopping around, finding a cannabis-friendly doctor, paying lots of money, and doing a lot of legwork, I got my card in the middle of July, with about a month and a half to “stock up” on supplies that could help me sleep and keep my pain under control.

But then it all disappeared. As of this past Saturday, the card I worked so hard to get has been effectively revoked, and I am no longer legally permitted to have or use the medicine I purchased from my provider back in August. Same for well over 12,000 other patients in the state. And the storefronts from which patients were purchasing their medicine have also been shut down–the new laws only allow each provider to service three patients, which isn’t nearly enough to keep a business open.

It’s pretty crappy.

But there’s hope! There’s a ballot initiative slated for the November election here in Montana that would reinstate the program, with some new and improved regulations and provisions. Given that the medical cannabis system here was voted into existence in 2004 by a whopping 62% of voters, we’re very hopeful that this year’s election will yield similar results.

But not everyone’s outlook is so rosy… There is some staunch opposition to getting patients in Montana access to the medicine they need.

Read all about the details in my latest article at Leafly!

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