Montana Medical Marijuana Patients Unhappy
BUTTE, Mont. - Medical marijuana patients and dispensaries in Montana are unhappy with the state’s proposed new regulations, according to The Montana Standard. At least 100 people attended a public hearing at the Department of Public Health and Human Services last Thursday.
The new proposed rules would increase the cost of a medical marijuana card from $5 to $30. The new rules would also make licenses for medical marijuana providers go up from $50 to $1000 for those with 10 patients or less. Those with more than 10 patients would have to pay $5000 for a license. Dispensaries or those cultivating concentrates would have to pay an additional $500, plus a 4 percent tax.
Dispensary manager Tawnya LaFound told reporters that the costs were unaffordable, saying “We will have to shut our doors.” Each employee of providers or dispensaries would also have to get a permit under the new rules, and those with any drug convictions, including misdemeanors, would be ineligible.
Others complained that the new requirements were too many at once. Kate Cholewa from the Montana Cannabis Industry Association told reporters that “One thing we do know from other states is trying to do everything at once creates a mess. It creates a disaster, everything gets locked up, things don’t move,” she said. Dispensaries will also be required to do laboratory testing on all products for toxins and pesticides.
The Department of Public Health and Human Services will collect public comments on the new medical marijuana regulations by mail, fax and mail until Dec. 7 for consideration and possible changes. A spokesman for the DPHHS said that the new rules will be finalized shortly after the deadline and providers will have 60 days before the rules will be implemented.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles, California.