Mike Miller
Serving the People in House District 80


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Why I Voted Against Repealing Medical Marijuana
Posted by Rep. Mike Miller, HD84 on 19-Apr-2012

Why I Voted Against Repealing Medical Marijuana


First of all, I am not opposed to the legitimate use of medical marijuana. I know people that do benefit from it where other "conventional" drugs have failed them. One person I know without health insurance was able to drop over $150/month worth of prescriptions.


One of the main reasons I voted against repeal is that it overturns a people's initiative and if we do that even once, no matter what the topic is, it weakens or even entirely destroys, the people’s initiative process - why would the people ever bother voting on something if they knew that the legislature was just going to override them? We may as well reinstate the outfitters licenses and allow the payday loan places to re-open.


Medical marijuana was pretty benign in Montana until the current administration in Washington, DC said they were not going to enforce the existing federal laws. In my opinion, laws are written to be enforced and enforcement should not just be subject to the whims of a President. Not even he is above the law.


In my opinion, the Federal Government should repeal the federal laws and allow the States to handle medical marijuana as they (and their citizens) see fit. If the federal laws were gone, it could be just another prescription filled by a pharmacist.


It would certainly not be fair to any business that has made a capital investment to be shut down when the next President decides to enforce the laws – or the people change their mind. Business needs to know that it will not lose the time, effort and investment made because a law changes. Just ask the people that invested in the elk farms, the pay day loans and the outfitters.


Most people are not aware that the Federal Government currently mails about 300 medical marijuana "joints" to around 7 people every month as a result of a program (Compassionate Investigational New Drug Program) that started in the early 1980's. It is grown at the University of Mississippi - the only place where it is legal to grow marijuana in the US under federal law. The program was closed to new applicants in 1992 under President George H.W. Bush but has continued to supply existing patients. Once the last person dies, the program will likely end.  


However, the bottom line is that the legislature did not do its job and put the appropriate rules/laws in place once the initiative passed in 2004. I believe it is up to the legislature to fix the mess it created. And it is a huge mess and it is being grossly abused by some of the people. The people that voted for the initiative certainly did not get what they believed they voted for. There are far too many young people with “chronic pain”.  I will vote to greatly limit and restrict the use of medical marijuana to those with a legitimate need – which is what the people believed they were voting for in the first place.


While many people disagree with my vote to not repeal, I hope this helps them to understand it a little better.

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