The Hill County Commission has scheduled a meeting Tuesday morning to talk about an issue confronting local governments throughout the state: how to handle a flood of users and providers of medical marijuana. Montana voters approved an initiative in 2004 allowing marijuana to be used to alleviate conditions such as chronic pain or nausea if prescribed by a physician. The law lists conditions— such as cancer, glaucoma, human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures and severe or persistent muscle Spasms — that could lead to a physician prescribing the herb. The doctor must certify that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient. Caregivers are approved to raise up to six marijuana plants a year per patient to supply the herb to people who have a prescription. In the first five years after the law took effect, the number of patients and caregivers grew, but relatively gradually. Starting this year, the number of applications, of prescript ions and caregivers has exploded. Local governments throughout the state have been wrestling with how to regulate the marijuana growth and distribution business, with concerns that the business could lead to abuses and illegal sale of marijuana, which still is illegal in Montana outside of medical use and is still listed as an illegal drug in federal law. President Barack Obama h a s d i r e c t e d t h e U. S . Department of Justice not to prosecute federal offenses that are in conflict with state law allowing medical marijuana. Montana is one of 14 states that has passed law allowing its use. Hill County, along with Havre and other city and county governments in Montana, is considering putting a moratorium in place on marijuana grow operations at least until it can set up plans to regulate the business. The Hill County meeting is set to begin at 9 a.m. at the Hill County Justice Center on 2nd Street West. The city of Havre also is looking at the issue Tuesday. The City Council Planning and Development Committee is scheduled to meet at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall to talk about zoning issues including regarding medial marijuana.
Medical marijuana meetings set
Published: Monday, April 12th, 2010
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