Stringent Marijuana Overhaul Becomes Law

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – The deadline for Gov. Brian Schweitzer to veto the Republican-led Legislature’s medical marijuana overhaul has come and gone.

The bill became law on Saturday and already is causing confusion. The sponsor says the state must immediately stop issuing medical marijuana cards.

But health officials say the new law is unclear and they will continue processing their backlog of applications.

Medical marijuana advocates say a Helena judge granted their request to temporarily block a provision of the new law that bans advertising pot. A hearing on their free-speech argument is set for May 27.

The new law’s strict limitations on patients, providers and doctors take effect on July 1.

Advocates are hoping to keep that from happening through a petition drive that would instead put the question to voters in 2012.

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