Medical Marijuana Group Barred from Great Falls Civic Center

By Beacon Staff

GREAT FALLS – A group that helps people sign up for medical marijuana cards is no longer welcome at the Great Falls Civic Center after the city complained of people smoking weed in and near the building.

Last week the Montana Caregivers Network used the Civic Center for an event where people could meet with a doctor, who could then certify the patient had a condition that warranted a state-issued medical marijuana card. But the city canceled its contract for upcoming events next week.

City Attorney Chad Parker said the group did not comply with the conditions of its use permit.

The city attorney said a deposit was not paid for next week, that a business license was not purchased, and that people smoked inside and outside the Civic Center building in violation of the building’s no smoking policy.

“It was supposed to be a clinic, and it turned into something very different than a clinic,” Parker said.

The group said it will instead hold its events on the same dates at the Montana ExpoPark in Great Falls. The clinics also include booths set up by caregivers who can supply marijuana to cardholders.

Jason Christ, director of the Montana Caregivers Network, said he thought the city would use the same card previously given to pay a deposit for next week. He said the cancellation letter from the city also complained that Montana Caregivers Network staff members put tacks in the wall and left food in the drain of a sink at the last event.

Christ said he believes the city was surprised by how many people attended the Oct. 23 event.

“I don’t think they understood what was coming,” he said.

Parker said that if the group had complied with city ordinances and had a business license for the city, it likely would have been welcomed back at the Civic Center.

“We want people to come to the Civic Center and feel welcome,” he said. “It’s a community building.”

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