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Support for new medical marijuana bill

By Chris Hoffman, Ravalli County Sheriff

I have received questions from community members who are confused about Ballot Measure- Initiative Referendum Number 124. This issue relates to the Montana Marijuana Act and the language on the ballot is very confusing.

The issue relates to the change in the marijuana laws from the 2011 Legislature, Senate Bill 423. This change in the law, which has been reviewed and supported by the Montana Supreme Court, established limits “of no more than 3 patients per provider”, “no money for product”, “standards for establishing chronic pain” and “a review of doctor recommendations and practices”.

Because of the changes under Senate Bill 423, Montana has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of patients and providers.  SB 423 is more “industry” restrictive and far less ambiguous than the initial medical marijuana law while still providing patients who have real identified needs continued access to options.

Because of Senate Bill 423 law enforcement has seen a decline in incidents involving thefts, burglary, serious assaults and even homicides relating to the marijuana industry.  This legislation translates to safer communities, a true benefit to all.

As a local leader of your law enforcement community I endorse and support Senate Bill 423.

The actual ballot language as it appears:

[ ]  FOR Senate Bill 423, a bill which repeals I-148 and enacts a new medical marijuana program.

[ ] AGAINST Senate Bill 423, a bill which repeals I-148 and enacts a new medical marijuana program. A vote against Senate Bill 423 will restore 1-148.

As your Sheriff, I urge you to consider the impact to our community and vote FOR Senate Bill 423.

 

3 Responses to Support for new medical marijuana bill
  1. A. Ward
    November 2, 2012 | 5:34 pm

    All that the new medical marijuana law, SB423, has accomplished is to invite the marijuana black market back to Montana. When the old law was in effect, local individuals who were registered with the state, grew for those with cards. Although those in favor of SB423 want you to believe that by intimidating doctors, removing the source of cannabis for those who use it as medicine by prohibiting people who grow to be paid for it, and frighteing 90% of the patients into being afraid to renew their cards has resulted in fewer people using marijuana, this simply is not the case. The same number of people in MT who used cannabis either recreationally or medicinally are still doing so. The only difference is that now they are buying it from out of state gangs, drug cartels, and criminals. I would think the sheriff would want to stop this instead of encourage it!

  2. robert_A
    October 31, 2012 | 3:47 pm

    I don’t think it’s proper for a law enforcement official such as Sheriff Hoffman to express an opinion, one way or another, as to whether the public should vote for or against marijuana laws. Sheriff Hoffman’s job is to clarify the law if the public needs help and enforce the law regardless of what those laws are, not to tell us what he thinks those laws should be. For Sheriff Hoffman to say that using marijuana is in some way worse for society than alcohol, which is legal and taxed, is ignorant and misleading. I have no doubt that Sheriff Hoffman knows that alcohol causes many more problems for society than marijuana does. If people want to get a buzz, which is really what the issue is about, then perhaps Sheriff Hoffman should tell us why alcohol is okay to get a buzz on and marijuana is not. And to just say that the federal government deems it illegal is not good enough. If Sheriff Hoffman wants to talk about something useful, perhaps he could talk about the harm that is done by alcohol, by meth, and by cocaine and other drugs and compare those statistics to the harm done by marijuana. Then the public–WITHOUT Sheriff Hoffman’s input–could more intelligently determine whether it is useful to spend the public’s money and law enforcement time on enforcing laws that prohibit the use of something that is less harmful than alcohol, whether that money would be better spent doing something else.

  3. Mike Miller
    October 31, 2012 | 4:35 am

    Sheriff Hoffman: first off, I-148 was VOTED BY THE PEOPLE. Secondly, YOU don’t tell US how to vote; WE tell YOU what the law is by our votes. Thirdly, you violate our State Constitution by this endorsement of yours: “ARTICLE II DECLARATION OF RIGHTS Section 1. POPULAR SOVEREIGNTY. All political power is vested in and derived from the people. All government of right originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.”

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