Archive for April, 2012

Fee Increase, Updates and Rule Changes at DPHHS

April 27th, 2012

Several changes appeared yesterday at the DPHHS marijuana website. A summary:

  • Patient registration fee increase from $25 to $75, effective June 1st, 2012
  • Patient renewal fee increase from $10 to $75, effective June 1st, 2012
  • Regardless of when a registration/renewal is postmarked, if DPHHS receives it on or after June 1st, 2012, the new fee applies
  • Incorrect fees will cause the application to be denied
  • Providers application fees are $50
  • Providers must re-apply annually
  • Fees are never refunded, even if the application is incomplete or denied, or the card is later revoked
  • All applications require a photocopy of a valid (not expired) Montana driver’s license or state issued ID, to prove Montana residency.  The photocopy must be legible.
  • Landlord permission forms must be notarized

Reasons for the changes are contained in this Administrative Rules document (PDF).

There are now 11,993 registered patients in Montana, a drop of more than 2,300 in the last month. The program has shed roughly 18,000 participants in the last year.




Newsletter: Strength in Numbers

April 26th, 2012

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We’re hearing some outrageous, heartbreaking, and discouraging news these days. More federal raids. Indictments, convictions, prison sentences and heavy fines (see news stories below). Montana citizens, whose mistake was to believe that careful compliance with state law would protect them from federal law enforcement, are now facing decades in prison.

It’s enough to make an advocate conclude, “the feds have won, we give up.”

I’ve even heard that some people are afraid to sign the petition for CI-110, because they “don’t want to be on a list”.

I get it. After all, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. And they’re out to get us, every single one of us.

But there’s strength in numbers, and I’ll tell you, we’ve got the numbers. Around 100,000 people in Montana consume cannabis from time to time. Enough to change any election. Enough to put CI-110 on the ballot.  Enough to win.

But we — you and I — can’t wait for “someone else” to do it.

If everyone reading this collected ten signatures from family and friends, we’d qualify CI-110 for the ballot in no time.

Ready to get started? Great! Email or call (406) 359-1888, today. Time is short, please get involved right away.

Not convinced? The CI-110 effort is also hiring signature gatherers and regional leaders. Call or email to learn more, or just hit reply and I’ll help.

Before I get to news and events, a quick administrative note. I’m pleased to announce that longtime Montana NORML volunteer Justin Michels has agree to take on the volunteer role of Deputy Director — my right-hand-man.  Thank you, Justin, and congrats!

Montana Marijuana News & Events





Be a part of history, come help us celebrate the end of prohibition!

April 26th, 2012



As they have in years past, local Activists from Missoula will join over three hundred cities worldwide in the fourteenth annual Global Cannabis March. Participants are especially excited for this year’s march because of the momentum building behind their long-held position that marijuana prohibition causes more harm than actual marijuana. 2012 will be a landmark year for marijuana reform activists around the nation. Colorado and Washington state have so far qualified initiatives to legalize and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol.

Montana NORML is coordinating the event to capture support for Montana First, a campaign that is working currently to put a ballot proposal on the November ballot that will protect the rights of adults who use and grow marijuana.

The march is scheduled to begin shortly after 4pm on Saturday May 5th.

Local participants will gather at Jacob’s Island (Bark Park) to march along the Clark Fork River to the Missoula County courthouse and through the downtown streets. The march is scheduled to begin shortly after 4pm. (Facebook event here.)

Members of the public are welcome to attend. Signature gatherers will be present throughout the event.

Speakers include:

Craig Shannon, a local criminal defense attorney.

Emmett Reistroffer, Statewide petition coordinator for CI-110.

A Long, Painful, Expensive Process

April 4th, 2012

Some people say that working to change state marijuana laws is pointless, because federal law trumps state law, and the feds will send armed agents to disrupt whatever states may attempt.

While it’s important to be conscious of federal powers, changing state policies is nevertheless an important step in the process.

Here is how things change:

One person, just like you, gets fed up. They volunteer, or write a check to a local organization working to end marijuana prohibition.

Meanwhile, federal law remains the same, and federal representatives turn a blind eye, replying to constituent pleas with terse form letters.

Eventually, enough people join the cause with their time and dollars, and the local organization becomes more effective, and works to educate voters about the merits of the cause.

Meanwhile, federal law remains the same, and federal representatives turn a blind eye.

The organization (or network of affiliated organizations) grows, and state-level policies change for the better, whether by initiative or statute. There is some ebb and flow, some big tragedies and small victories.

Meanwhile, federal law remains the same, and federal representatives turn a blind eye.

But public opinion has shifted now, and some mainstream state leaders feel comfortable speaking out.

And, 55% of voters in Western states now believe marijuana should be legal.

But federal law remains the same, and with a few exceptions, federal representatives turn a blind eye.

And then, in line with evolving popular opinion, advocates are successful in toppling prohibition at the state level. Maybe it’s Colorado, or Oregon, or Washington, or even Montana. Or all of the above.

At that point, federal representatives can’t ignore it anymore. Even better, they will have political cover now.  Eventually, some will support the new policy in their home state and introduce or support similar legislation at the  federal level.

And finally, federal prohibition is, will be, repealed.

It’s a long process, it’s a painful process, it’s an expensive process, but for our movement, it’s the only way to get there.

You can help move it forward by making a donation or volunteering to collect signatures for Montana First, the campaign to end marijuana prohibition in Montana. Do it today.