Montana NORML Newsletter – Drug Task Force Operations in Missoula, events, and the news

March 18th, 2010 by Montana NORML Newsletter Leave a reply »

Montana NORML News

Good evening everyone.

We’re told that earlier today in Missoula, a prominent storefront caregiver was paid a visit by the state Drug Task Force guys. They rolled up in a black SUV, interviewed a patient exiting the premises, and then came in to ask questions. After some conversation, they were shown the garden, counted plants, and, satisfied, gave the following advice before leaving:

  • Hash is always illegal. They are prosecuting any amount of hash, and have two cases in court already.
  • If it has roots, it’s a plant.
  • Medibles/tinctures are not on their radar — this week anyway.
  • Despite some creative interpretations to the contrary, caregivers may only sell to patients who have designated them, and only if the physical card is in the caregiver’s possession. They intend to bust those who bend this rule.
  • They are also very interested to bust growers acquiring marijuana from the criminal black market, particularly those who transport over state lines.
  • The best news: They told the caregiver that they realize “marijuana is here to stay“.

Other growers should take heed, count their plants, and review their procedures.

The gathering storm of medical marijuana backlash continued in Montana this week, with many stories of hand-wringing sheriffs and agitated city council folk. Of course the news articles pose the entire issue as a struggle rife with conflict, which sells papers, but isn’t entirely accurate.

I’ve spoken with numerous caregivers who would welcome some regulatory guidance, so it’s not as if government officials are totally on one side and all growers on the other.  Some city leaders are woefully misinformed about the law and marijuana (such as the one who emailed us to express their astonishment that growers were not allowed to sell marijuana (false, in Montana)), so candid, honest, righteous, forthright conversations need to be happening.

And remember — today’s “medical marijuana caregivers” will be tomorrow’s “legal marijuana producers”, so the extent to which they can become a respected and effective political bloc is really important, if you want marijuana to be legal for all responsible adults. I’m so looking forward to getting past medical. Let me know if you agree.

And now, the news:

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  3. john says:

    Interpret the law however you like, but it sounds like the fact is that two people have been arrested for possession of hash despite being cardholders, and their cases are pending in court.

  4. aardvark says:

    I totally agree with NORML’s stance regarding “beyond medical.” The news above is welcoming. I am glad to see the state keeping ‘em honest. Glad to see the caregiver was compliant with the law. And, welcome the words of advice regarding caregiver’s finding political allies and strengthening their reputations for the future

    As to local law enforcement and city officials (statewide), they certainly are in need of an education. It would be nice to see a panel of marijuana educators formed and these local jurisdictions invited to a total learning experience.

    When the weed is finally freed I surely hope some national monopoly such as tobacco or pharmaceuticals do not become the approved distributors. It should be the citizens right to grown a limited number of plants for personal use or purchased through state(s) approved and regulated stores.

  5. Just because some overzealous cop wants to be out of bounds DOES NOT mean it Is illegal!
    The laws states ANY PART OF THE PLANT IS LEGAL!
    We have ZERO issue with that.
    Our attorney Carl Debelly KNOWS the law.
    Please contact The Healing Center Montana

  6. RE:waiting for your card from the state.

    If a patient is waiting for their application to be processed by the Colorado Department of Public Health Environment they can still get medical marijuana. The patient just needs a notarized copy of the application they sent in and a copy of authorization from their caregiver.


    Mark Salley, the communications director for the department of health in Colorado.

    We need a communications director for the Montana Dept of Health to be clear here.

    Look to for clear information.

  7. Montana law was written and based off of existing Colorado law.
    If it is deemed appropriate there it is appropriate here.
    Just like any other law.
    With A Card or physicians statement in hand the illegality of the law DOES NOT exist for us UNTIL we exceed the legal provisions or limits.

  8. kathy g says:

    first off it is against the law for a caretaker to sell to someone or give medication to someone who does not possess a legal card int he state of montana. it does not matter if they have sent it in yet or not cause it is still against the law for them until the card arrives for them and the one that is sent to the caretaker. unless the caretaker has one and the patient has one also then the caretaker can not and should not give any medication to them until the time comes that they have that card in hand and mine dont. they cant even give you medication unless you are their patient also as it is against the law. they have to be signed up witht he one who will be giving them the medication. if they are signed up with someone else they can not just go to a different caretaker to get medication as this is against montana law. they have to get it from the caretaker they signed up to get it from and no one else as it is against the law. folks i encourage you to understand the law before you go jumping into something you have no idea about before it is to late and you find yourselves in a bunch of unneeded legal trouble. and yes hash is against the law in montana still but hopefully not for to much longer as it is also made from the marijuana plant so should be considered legal also but at this time it is not so dont have it yet until such a time it is legal in montana. just my 2 cents worth on this thanks.

  9. MT Holistic says:

    I would have left those 2cents behind.

  10. Kathy.
    Its CAREGIVER not caretaker!
    Also a patient to patient transfer is COMPLETELY covered.
    Do not believe Kathy’s socialist view of care-giving its WRONG!!!!!!!!
    I don’t know who your legal adviser is but you need to get a better one!
    Our attorney is also a judge and a patient and caregiver!
    Your ideas about the meaning of the law are ALL WRONG!!!!
    For REAL information.
    Not scare tactics.
    The Healing Center Montana is the largest legal NON PROFIT collective in the state.
    Please feel free to come visit one of our locations throughout the state.
    Be sure to visit the largest gathering of cannabis purvayors in the world.
    THC Montana will have a booth there representing Montanans patients.
    Thanks Michael J Smith
    Executive Director
    Yes we have the 1st industrial hemp license in Montana. We will be growing hemp this year for food and fuel!

    I encourage you to seek quality legal help as there are a lot of attorneys in Montana that DO NOT UNDERSTAND this law.
    There just trying to make a buck.
    Our attorney is ready to HELP any patient or cargiver with legal matteres regarding Montana medical marijuana program.
    just call 406-584-8712

  11. The law says “any part of the plant”
    Hash is part of the plant period!
    Anyone who tells you hash is not legal just DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE LAW!!!!
    Once again just because some overzealous undereducated cops charges you with a crime DOES NOT MAKE ANYTHING ILLEGAL!!!

    A medical-marijuana activist who shot an intruder in his home during a shootout this month has been barred from buying guns because he’s a pot patient, according to an e-mail sent Tuesday by authorities.

    The e-mail from the King County Sheriff’s Office to Steve Sarich said paperwork authorizing him to use and grow marijuana for medical reasons was enough to deny him the possession of weapons.

    Sarich, 59, said he tried to buy a shotgun and a pistol days after the March 15 shootout to replace ones seized by investigators. He said he has no criminal record but failed the background check because federal laws prohibit “unlawful users” of controlled substances from buying or receiving guns.

    Marijuana is illegal under federal law.

    The e-mail written by records-unit supervisor Ann Swartz said that when Sarich reported a previous burglary at his Kirkland-area home, he showed his medical-marijuana paperwork to investigators.

    The Sheriff’s Office forwarded the burglary report to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. “They informed us that possession of a medical drug card is sufficient to establish an inference of current use,” Swartz wrote.

    Five people were charged in the invasion of Sarich’s home. Three pleaded not guilty Tuesday to burglary and attempted robbery. The suspect shot by Sarich has undergone surgeries on his heart and lungs and on Monday got one of his legs amputated below the knee, according to his lawyer.

    Sarich suffered minor shotgun-pellet wounds when one intruder fired.

    The Sheriff’s Office is investigating him for potential violations of the state’s medical-marijuana law.

    Although the e-mail from Swartz said Sarich is barred from buying or possessing guns, he said he borrowed one shortly after the shooting. Sarich said he no longer has it.

  14. TEL # is 406-581-8712
    sorry about that

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