Montana Governor Vetoes Repeal of Medical Marijuana Law

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have repealed the state’s 7-year-old, voter-approved law legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

Schweitzer’s veto came as state lawmakers continued work on an alternative bill to tighten regulation of medical marijuana in the state, where 30,000 residents carry cards allowing them to lawfully use marijuana as treatment for one ailment or another.

Critics of the law, approved as a ballot measure by voters in 2004, say the statute has been abused by some as a pretext for recreational pot smoking and even for illegal drug trade.

“The good intentions of Montana voters has been made a mockery by the system that’s grown up in this state in the last year and a half,” said state Senator Jeff Essmann, a chief sponsor of the regulation bill.

Last month, federal agents raided marijuana greenhouses and dispensaries in 13 cities across Montana in a crackdown that federal prosecutors said was aimed at supposed medical pot suppliers who were engaged in large-scale drug trafficking.

Although cannabis is still considered an illegal narcotic under federal law, 15 states and the District of Columbia have statutes making marijuana legal for medical reasons, mostly in the West, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

In a shift from the Bush administration’s position on the subject, the administration of President Barack Obama said in October 2009 it would no longer prosecute patients who use medical marijuana, or dispensaries that distribute it, in states where marijuana has been approved for such purposes.

But the number of pot growers and storefront clinics has sprouted since then. And Justice Department officials say federal law enforcement will continue raids on illegal drug distribution operations wherever they are found.

– Article from Reuters.



  1. BillCunnane on

    The repeal bill was vetoed as a matter of formality. The fact was the legislature actually dropped the push for it 2 days prior. The plan is now to get the new bill SB 423 out of the committee on monday and get the third reading in the senate. then on to the gov office to be signed. That bill is what Montana voters wanted. NO marijuana sales, no distributors, tight restrictions to get a medical card, and registration of all growers and users with the police. If your not registered you can and will be arrested by local law enforcement. Only those who really need it will get a card. Amounts grown and in possession is also going to be restricted as well. Once signed it will be the flagship bill for the rest of the states to pattern their bills as well. It still does not prevent the Feds from arresting for possession or growing. So its a risk no matter what. The state laws will NOT protect anyone from prosecution by the Federal Government. Still the Montana law SB423 is a good one, the right one, and a major step to keep marijuana out of the hands of those who do not really have a legal need for it. It givs the Local Law Enforcement the teeth to also arrest those not following the law. Congrats to the Montana Legislature and Senate. This one looks like it will be signed into law.

  2. CommonSense on

    It is nice to finally see a politician that does what the people ask. That is a rarity today and a beautiful thing to witness. This man has forever gained my respect.

  3. Montana Biotech on

    Schweitzer is listening to his constituency!! He is doing better than any other pol right now!!! Great job Schweitzer!!!

    David Wanzenreid for Gov of Montana 2012!!! hie is a major supporter of medical marijuana. Big opponent of HB161!!!