Montana Passes Measure to Expand Medical Marijuana

Anti-trapping initiative fails, as does initiative to fund brain research

HELENA — Montana voters approved an expansion of medical marijuana, one of four citizen initiatives on the ballot, which is the most in any state election since 2010.

The other ballot measures asked voters to decide whether to ban trapping on public lands, fund brain research and insert a crime victims’ rights law into the state constitution.


The passage of Initiative 182 means that marijuana dispensaries will be able to re-open after they closed in August to comply with a state Supreme Court order.

The high court upheld a 2011 state law after a five-year legal battle to restrict marijuana providers to a maximum of three patients. The law forced dispensaries to close their doors and left thousands of registered users without a legal way to access the drug.

Under the initiative, marijuana dispensaries will reopen, and doctors will be able to certify more than 25 medical marijuana patients a year without being flagged by the state Board of Medical Examiners.

Post-traumatic stress disorder would be added as a qualifying condition, and police will not be able to conduct surprise inspections of dispensaries.

Supporters of the measure say it will allow safe access to marijuana for patients while requiring providers to be accountable to the state.

Opponents say the measure would re-establish a marijuana industry in Montana that would be abused, as in 2011 when there were more than 31,000 registered marijuana users in the state. They say the 2011 law curbed abuses by patients, providers and doctors and should be left in place.



Voters also approved Constitutional Initiative 116, also known as Marsy’s Law, which will amend the Montana Constitution to set rights for crime victims.

They include the right to participate in judicial proceedings, to be notified of developments in a case and to be notified when an offender or suspect is released from jail, among others.

The initiative is named after Marsy Nicholas, who was killed in 1983 by her ex-boyfriend. Nicholas’ brother, Henry Nicholas, is the major funder in the effort to expand the law passed in California in 2008 to other states.

Proponents say the measure will give crime victims the same rights under the Constitution as those accused of breaking the law.

Opponents say the measure is too vague, that Montana already has strong laws to protect crime victims and that the additional cost to cities and counties to enforce it is unknown.



Montana rejected a ballot measure that would have banned animal trapping on public lands.

Initiative 116 would have made it a misdemeanor crime to trap or snare animals on public lands in the state. State officials would be allowed to use traps if other non-lethal methods of capturing wildlife fail.

Supporters of the measure say that by restricting trapping to private lands, the risk of people, pets and wildlife being harmed by traps would be greatly reduced.

Opponents say the measure was backed by animal-rights groups whose goal is to completely ban trapping in the state. The measure would have barred an effective measure for controlling predators that prey on the state’s wildlife and livestock, they say.



An initiative to fund brain research by issuing state bonds also appeared to be in trouble in early returns.

Initiative 181 would create the Montana Biomedical Research Authority, a panel that would award $200 million in grants over 10 years through state debt to fund research on brain diseases, brain injuries and mental illness.

“No” votes led the “yes” votes by 15 percentage points late Tuesday.

Backers of the initiative say the research will be needed as Montana’s population ages and the state must deal with more people afflicted by diseases such as Alzheimer’s, in addition to rising rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide by military veterans.

Opponents object forcing the state to go into debt to pay for the measure. Diverting that money could harm other state-funded programs, from education to health care, and there would be little accountability for how the money is spent after the bonds are approved, they say.

  • MontanaDawg

    Great to see the medical Marijuana results! Now we just need to ride the wave of legalization for recreational use as other States have done. The War on Drugs has failed miserably and the insanity needs to stop.

  • I’d like more information on how the reopening process for medical marijuana dispensaries will go.

  • Let’s give the Beavis and Butthead drug to thousands of idle Montana youth to boost our state’s economy. Great thinking by the state that is 4th in alcohol consumption and 49th in wages.

    • Storm Crow

      Funny thing- where cannabis is legalized, the rate of use by minors goes down or remains unchanged! Let’s use Colorado as an example- they’ve had legal cannabis for a couple of years now, and look what’s happening there!

      “Teen marijuana use in Colorado found lower than national average “- AOL, “Colorado’s Teen Marijuana Usage Dips after Legalization” – Scientific American,
      “Teen Marijuana Use Dips in Colorado After Legalization”- TIME and “Teens Smoke Less Grass in Legalized Colorado”- Newsweek. (all from 2016) (So much for your fear-mongering!)

      • I should have clarified. I meant young adults, the ones who can work or go to college.

        • Storm Crow

          How’s the local job market, D? “The marijuana industry created more than 18,000 new jobs in Colorado last year” (Washington Post). Legalization will turn many “idle youth” into hard-working tax-payers!

          Also, “Substituting cannabis for one or more of alcohol, illicit drugs or prescription drugs was reported by 87% (n = 410) of respondents, with 80.3% reporting substitution for prescription drugs, 51.7% for alcohol, and 32.6% for illicit substances.” From “Substituting cannabis for prescription drugs, alcohol and other substances among medical cannabis patients: The impact of contextual factors” (PubMed – 2015).

          Perhaps your young adults will use less in the way of alcohol, when cannabis is fully legalized and becomes easier to get from safe, regulated dispensaries. Adults really should have the freedom to choose!

        • OldeSoul

          If they’re old enough to work or go to college, they’re old enough to make their own choices without asking if it’s okay with you.

          • Many choices have consequences to health and society, don’t they?

          • reggiewhitefish

            From the evidence, good consequences.

          • Storm Crow

            Yes, cannabis use does have consequences! And here are some of the “consequences” of cannabis use- “Marijuana’s Active Ingredient Shown to Inhibit Primary Marker of Alzheimer’s Disease” (Scrippsedu), “Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, Study Shows” (ScienceDaily), “An Ingredient of Pot May Help People with Epilepsy” (Scientific American), “Lab Notes: Pot Has Benefits for Diabetic Hearts” (MedPageToday), “14 of 15 MS patients show clinical improvement with cannabis consumption” (Examiner), “Marijuana Slims? Why Pot Smokers Are Less Obese” (TIME), “Cannabis for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease treatment” (NewsMedicalNet), How MEDlCAL MARlJUANA’s Chemicals May Protect Cells” (Scientific American), “Cannabis to lower blood pressure! (NewsMedicalNet), and “Marijuana use associated with lower death rates in patients with traumatic brain injuries” (eurekalert). Try reading a few of those, you might learn something new.

          • Cherry picking positive or pro-pot articles while ignoring the science that disagrees is called bias. Why not just be honest?

          • Storm Crow

            Each of those is backed by at least one medical study, and usually several studies. Do you have a problem with honest medical facts?

            Alzheimer’s is a good example, just this year (2016) there have been these studies published (FYI- THC stimulates both the CB1 and CB2 receptors) – “Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study”, “Amyloid proteotoxicity initiates an inflammatory response blocked by cannabinoids”, “Delineating the Efficacy of a Cannabis-Based Medicine at Advanced Stages of Dementia in a Murine Model”, “Natural Phytochemicals in the Treatment and Prevention of Dementia: An Overview”, “Cannabinoids prevent the amyloid β-inducedactivation of astroglial hemichannels: A neuroprotective mechanism”, “Stimulation of brain glucose uptake by cannabinoid CB2 receptors and its therapeutic potential in Alzheimer’s disease”, “CB2 Cannabinoid Receptor As Potential Target against Alzheimer’s Disease”, “Selective modulator of cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2) against biochemical alterations and brain damage in chronic cerebral hypoperfusion induced vascular dementia”, “Selective modulator of cannabinoid receptor type 2 reduces memory impairment and infarct size during cerebral hypoperfusion and vascular dementia”, “Agitation in Alzheimer Disease as a Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana in the United States”, “Pharmacological management of agitation and aggression in Alzheimer’s Disease: a review of current and novel treatments”, “Vascular Dysfunction in a Transgenic Model of Alzheimer’s Disease: Effects of CB1R and CB2R Cannabinoid Agonists”, “Targeting Cannabinoid CB2 Receptors in the Central Nervous System. Medicinal Chemistry Approaches with Focus on Neurodegenerative Disorders”.

            Perhaps when you have read those, as I have, we can have a discussion! There is a LOT more to cannabis than just the “high”!

            (I didn’t include the studies that referred only to our body’s natural endocannabinoids that fight Alzheimer’s (and much more), otherwise this would have been much longer!)

          • Fine, let them use it in Alzheimer’s studies. Alzheimer’s people don’t need recreational pot.

          • Storm Crow

            You just don’t get it, do you? All cannabis use is medical use, whether you realize it or not! Cannabis is a preventative medicine when it comes to Alzheimer’s (and other conditions).

            To quote Dr. Gary Wenk, a professor of neuroscience, immunology and medical genetics at Ohio State University, “.. if you do anything, such as smoke a bunch of marijuana in your 20s
            and 30s, you may wipe out all of the inflammation in your brain and
            then things start over again. And you simply die of old age before
            inflammation becomes an issue for you”.

            He then said, “individuals who smoked marijuana in the ‘60s and ‘70s, who are now entering their 60s and 70s, are not getting Alzheimer’s at the rate they should be.”

            Those hippie recreational users of the 60s and 70s are simply not getting Alzheimer’s! I know that, at age 69, I’m still reading medical studies as a hobby, and all of my older, cannabis-using friends are still mentally sharp.

            So exactly why should we deny younger people the opportunity to protect their brains with a pleasant herb? Should we doom them to losing their memories, their selves, just because YOU don’t like the idea of them using “pot”?

          • Now you’re making it sound like the mythical fountain of youth.

            Interestingly, I have never heard passionate defense of weed from anyone but users of it.

            You still are not paying attention to real scientific medical studies:

            Why is it so difficult for you to be honest about this drug? People are honest about alcohol. Of course it’s dangerous and harmful in many ways, but we like it too. See, that’s being honest.

          • Storm Crow

            Most folks tell me I look at least a decade younger than my 69 years. I can still bend over and put my hands flat on the floor and sit in a full Lotus position. My mind is sharp and I read medical studies as a hobby! And every “old hippie” I know is much the same!

            And as to your article, may I refer you to these? “Study says long-term pot use causes poor gum health – but not much else” (The Guardian), “No sign of safety risks with longterm pot use for chronic pain” (Ars Technica), “Marijuana’s Effect on Memory Overstated, Study Finds” (Leaf Science), “Marijuana habit not linked to lung cancer” (Oncology Practice) and “No detectable association between frequency of marijuana use and health or healthcare utilization” (MedicalXPress).

            As for schizophrenia, you need to read “A controlled family study of cannabis users with and without psychosis” (PubMed – 2014) where “The results of the current study suggest that having an increased familial morbid risk for schizophrenia may be the underlying basis for schizophrenia in cannabis users and not cannabis use by itself.”

            Or perhaps read “Impact of Cannabis Use on the Development of Psychotic Disorders” (PubMed – 2014), where they found that “cannabis is neither necessary nor sufficient to cause a persistent psychotic disorder.”

            And as for your “passionate defense” crack, do people comment on something they have never tried, and never even really researched? Only fools comment on things they don’t know about!

            Those who have experienced the relief that cannabis can bring, share their experiences! They are your “passionate defenders”!

            For me, as an example, cannabis PREVENTS my migraines from a childhood head trauma. It also eases my arthritic hands, lowers my blood pressure and lifts my mood. My home-grown cannabis replaces Imetrex, pain pills, high blood pressure pills, antidepressants and more! Most folks my age are using a half dozen or more pills daily- I use thyroid pills and cannabis replaces all the rest of the pills Big Pharma would like to sell me!

      • Johnny oneye

        Don’t confuse him with facts
        You cannot graft a new idea on a closed mind!
        I love your studies , even the negative effects of cannabis!
        Oh and RIP to CASHY HYDE
        Murdered by #prohibition of cannabis in the state of Montana
        Thank you again for your inspiring list of medical #efficacy!
        “Don’t feed the TROLLS ”

        • Storm Crow

          Johnny, I’m not “feeding the trolls”, I’m USING them to “feed the medical facts” to the public! lol Trolls are just “useful idiots” who put their feet in their mouths frequently. They say something incorrect about cannabis, and I correct them, and then I use medical studies and articles to back myself up!

          And if anyone would like a free copy of the current “Granny Storm Crow’s List”, all they need to do is run “Granny’s List is on the Cloud! FREE! Get it here!” and follow the simple directions. I’m up to over 3,000 pages of links to just about everything related to cannabis, the cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system. The List is also on Facebook, and older versions can be found online.

          • Johnny oneye


    • Anonymous9

      I’m still baffled by this idea that some governing force or rogue drug dealers are suddenly going to start giving pot to kids upon legalization. You don’t really think that’s how it will work, do you? I can never escape the feeling that this, like the music, movies, video games, and even works of literary art of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and right up to current times are to blame for the corruption of our youth. Look at the numbers and the sources from people posting them, or do your own research.

      • I was speaking of young adults, not kids. Marijuana chemicals alter the brain over time. Doctors I have spoken to tend to agree it produces “Beavis and Butthead” syndrome over time.

        Are you claiming it is harmless and completely pure and clean and has no lasting effects?

        • Anonymous9

          I count young adults as the youth. These doctors you spoke to, did they have proper credentials? Experience in the field? I ask these two questions in particular because even the doctors who do have vast experience and credentials still do not know the long term effects and they never will until certain government agencies allow them to conduct more in depth reviews that aren’t partisan or bias to produce skewed results. Some people have smoked cannabis for over 40 years with very little to no side effects. No irregular brain function or decreased lung capacity. As far as harmless or completely pure, I leave that up to the people in white jackets. We do know this, not one death in our entire history of consuming this plant has ever been recorded. How can you or anyone possibly ignore that fact?

          • Yes, it was a real doctor I asked. I was at a hospital for someone who used the brain-altering drug alcohol and hurt themselves very badly.

            You sound like a die-hard cannabis promoter, which means you are going to share propaganda whose sole purpose is to free weed for the world.

            Real medical studies, which are not selling anything, carry more weight and disagree with your suggestions. For example:


          • Anonymous9

            I didn’t ask if it was a real doctor, I asked what their credentials were or if they were actual researchers. Again you ignore the indisputable fact that there’s not one single death in over 5000 well documented years attributed to cannabis consumption. Not even an animal has died from it as far as I know. Even aspirin is known to kill in small quantities but that’s still widely used and not to mention legal. I don’t promote any drug use but its no wonder that’s where you and so many others decide to go with it. Ignorance knows no boundaries and is often foreseeable in weak arguments. You can provide a thousand links from the internet and so could I but that will not bring us any closer. Stick to actual known facts about long term use and you’ll find there aren’t very many however, many of the myths have already been outed and debunked.

          • You did not respond to the article I posted with medical studies.

            The 20-year veteran doctor I spoke to lived where weed is popularly consumed, and his opinion of those patients was it produced Beavis and Butthead syndrome.

            Just because you cannot overdose on THC does not make it safe. People have died tripping on pot.

            I am sure people like you enjoy a good high, but to promote pot like it’s the fountain of youth is reckless.

          • Anonymous9

            I thought I explained why I won’t respond to links, there’s literally thousands of them and none have a full and factual disclosure. And now it appears, by your own admittance, that it was a doctors opinion and nothing more. The fact that you say people have died “tripping” on pot is even more telling that you have no real clue what you’re talking about. The fact that you cant overdose on this substance is incredibly relevant, if its so dangerous to consume and is listed in the same category as heroin and bath salts. And again with the accusation that I’m somehow promoting drugs. You do speak, read, write, and understand the words I use, correct? The further propagation of ignorance and lies is whats truly reckless.

          • If you are calling scientific medical studies ignorance, then I will say you are a living example of how marijuana stunts critical thinking abilities.

          • Anonymous9

            I wasn’t. I was calling you and your interpretation and limited understanding cause for ignorance. How do you even know for sure that I’m a living example of anything at all? Just because an individual is an advocate(not promoter)for something, is not indicative of what you’re accusing. I have a very clear understanding of what I’m talking about, I cant say the same for you.

          • There is no debate if you refuse to consider scientific studies by qualified medical experts.

            I stand by my position: Montana does not need more stoned young adults dragging the state down with it.

          • Anonymous9
          • OldeSoul

            There is no debate because you say so? No, this issue has been debated for decades. You cite one ridiculous study in a UK tabloid as a basis for restricting the personal liberties of hundreds of thousands of adults in this state? Guess what? No.

          • OldeSoul

            I just love it when people who have not a single clue or experience themselves claim to be experts about something because “some doctor said something” in a tabloid magazine that specializes in Kim Kardashian’s nude photos. Did you know that Beavis and Butthead Syndrome (such a professional-sounding diagnosis!) can infect people who don’t smoke pot? I proffer Citizen D as proof of my claim. I win.

          • I never claimed to be an expert.

            Your side has an almost religious worship of weed. That you cannot be balanced at all, or acknowledge real studies, proves this is more a faith and science topic for you.

          • OldeSoul

            Not only are you not an expert, you can’t even write a meaningful sentence. MY SIDE is the side that has been fighting for the right to be a free individual in this country for decades. That’s not religious worship, that’s my right.

            There has never been a “scientific” study that explains the true healing potential of this plant because no corporation has yet been able to claim it fully, and that is what passes for ‘science” in these days of lies. Because a tabloid prints an insipid “study,” this is your whole entire basis for arguing this point. You have zero. Give it up, go blow smoke somewhere else.

          • OldeSoul

            Real medical studies? Are you kidding? The Daily Mail is a tabloid, like The National Enquirer, only with more celebrity photos. Fail.

          • The study was not by Daily Mail. They reported on the studies. That’s very basic and I am surprised you missed it.

          • OldeSoul

            I didn’t miss anything. The Daily Mail is missing any credibility whatsoever, and I don’t need falsified studies to tell me what’s what about cannabis. I’ve spent most of my life studying it, I know more about it than a person who has never tried it, including, apparently, you. Tell you what. Give it a try and report back, someone might actually take your opinion seriously then. Maybe.

          • I bet you believe vegetarians are Nazis because Hitler was a vegetarian, right?

            Let me guess, if I link to this file with its many sourced studies, you will start on about some conspiracy theory that the DEA is profiting from pot and has invented these studies and convinced all of these boards to say pot is bad?


          • OldeSoul

            The DEA does profit from pot, that’s why they don’t want it legalized. And I am a vegetarian so that stupid point is just as pointless as the rest of your blather.

          • I knew it. Conspiracy theorist.

            Pot is associated with paranoia, and you have proven my points.

          • OldeSoul

            Beavis and Butthead Syndrome is associated with egotistical know-it-alls who love to lecture and dictate to others while their heads are in their behinds…. and you have proven my points. Thanks for the laughs….

          • Did you order 10 surfing monkey coin banks today?

      • Dave Cooper

        Parents and parents alone are to blame for the corruption of youth.