HELENA – So far, the 2013 Montana Legislature appears to be no more receptive to medical marijuana than the 2011 session was.

The House Human Services Committee on Friday tabled – and almost certainly killed – four medical marijuana bills by Rep. Kelly McCarthy, D-Billings. The bills all died on 12-4 votes, with 10 Republicans and two Democrats opposing the bills, while four Democrats backed them.

McCarthy’s bills were intended to fix the 2011 medical marijuana law, Senate Bill 423, which has been challenged in court. He tried to remove those provisions in the law that District Judge James Reynolds of Helena has twice blocked with preliminary injunctions, most recently in January.

“We were hoping to make SB423, as enjoined, permanent so the legal gymnastics could stop and all parties could get on with their lives,” McCarthy said afterward.

By his own description, McCarthy is one of the least likely lawmakers to sponsor these bills. Now a banker, he served in U.S. military intelligence for 23 years and participated in some interdictions to intercept illegal drugs being smuggled.

Members of the Montana Cannabis Information Association met with McCarthy during his campaign and explained the challenges they face.

“I made a commitment to help them if and when I got elected,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy wasn’t surprised his bills went down.

“I understand that I’ve burned a bit of political capital on this one, but everyone deserves representation,” he said. “When I didn’t see too many other legislators wanting to take up the challenge, I leaned into the strike zone and took one for the team. I didn’t think we’d win, but I didn’t let that stop me from giving it my best shot.”

His bills ran headlong into the stiff opposition of another former drug-fighting federal employee, House Human Services Chairman David Howard, R-Park City.

Howard, a retired FBI agent and chief of law enforcement for the Bureau of Land Management, told the committee how he spearheaded an effort in the 1980s to chop down thousands of illegal pot plants. It took place near the King Range National Conservation Area in northern California, near Garberville, which the BBC has dubbed America’s “marijuana heartland.”

Howard denounced marijuana as “a poison” and “a joke” on Friday after blasting it as “a scourge” two years ago.

If any medical marijuana bill passes the 2013 Legislature, it likely will have to clear Howard’s committee. That isn’t likely.

Over in the Senate, Sen. Dave Wanzenried, D-Missoula, has a pair of medical marijuana bills that will be heard this week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

One would prevent the state Board of Pharmacy from delaying the rescheduling of marijuana if Congress or a federal agency changes how it’s scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act.

His other bill would add post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, to the list of medical conditions for which a physician could recommend medical marijuana to patients.

Wanzenried, in his final session of a long legislative career, doesn’t think lawmakers should shy away from controversial issues.

“There’s an old saying that doing the popular thing isn’t always the right thing,” he said. “The popular thing about medical marijuana this session is to not do anything and let the courts decide. I think we have a responsibility to reexamine any policy on a routine basis. Having a good discussion on medical marijuana is a good idea.”

He has another pending bill he intends to introduce this week that will incorporate provisions of McCarthy’s four measures.

“Responsible democracy for me is speaking out about it and having a vigorous debate about things that some people would just as soon not talk about,” he said.

Missoulian State Bureau reporter Charles S. Johnson can be reached at (406) 447-4066 or by email at chuck.johnson@lee.net.

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(44) comments

BJG1
BJG1

Madtaxpayer: You obviously don't have any painful or overwhelming "physical" problems to deal with that would cause you to try medications. There are people who find relief of pain with mm. So what's the problem with that? If I were a cancer patient and was not able to eat because of treatment, would you want me to die just because you,Madtaxpayer,didn't want me to use mm.....because I wouldn't be able to work and pay taxes?

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

so you're saying it's just fine to smoke a joint on your way to work because you have cancer? yeah, cancer is bad, but it does not give you the right to drive stoned! brains, wow, this city has absolutely none!

wildmtn
wildmtn

wow, what are you drinking at 12:57pm? Where in BJG1's comment do they say anything about "the right to drive stoned"??? I noticed you never really responded to all the comments on whether you use alcohol and/or prescriptions. Hmmmmmmm

doknobody
doknobody

Madlaxative must be a drinker Or someone who thinks they are always right no matter what proof
never mind he just wants to b**ch about everything
so just relax dude. WE will not force you to accept our opinion or " meds " .

The_Boneshackler
The_Boneshackler

MJ is child's play. We need to reinstitute the prohibition on alcohol. Alcohol is incredibly addictive and destructive to society and should be prohibited under penalty of imprisonment.

Rooster
Rooster

So cocaine is made from the leaves of coca plants do we legalize and tax that also?

kevin11
kevin11

Cocaine is already legal..schedule II

Mojoh
Mojoh

Who is the foaming gibbering insult and hate spewing individual in this conversation. Hmmmm......

kevin11
kevin11

mad-dog sticks out like the proverbial floater in the punch bowl, eh?

KillTheNoise
KillTheNoise

It's obvious Madtaxpayer is very ignorant! I think a hippie might of stole his girlfriend back in the day? Lured her away with some of that devil weed! Not only is he ignorant he's also a hypocrite! I'm sure he swills his fair share of brews and is on several prescription DRUGS! What about all caffeine he drinks! Caffeine is the number one selling drug in the world. So maybe he's just mad at himself for being such a drug addict! He's the true drain on society. Especially when he goes on Medicare and we all have to pay for his fat a$$ to get the Rx he needs to keep the gravy which was once blood flowing through his black rotten heart!

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

“There’s an old saying that doing the popular thing isn’t always the right thing,”

Really? let's go back to the 60's, the "unpopular" thing to do was be a irresponsible hippie. drugs, unprotected sex and leeching off the working class. you want that again?? you want this country to be a bunch of lazy hippies again? I don't want to work my butt off taking care of the lazy druggies in this country. how about getting people OFF drugs and gettng their lazy butts to work!!!!

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

The following text is taken directly from the US government's National Cancer Institute website:

* ANTI-TUMOR EFFECTS

One study in mice and rats suggested that cannabinoids may have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. During this 2-year study, groups of mice and rats were given various doses of THC by gavage. A dose-related decrease in the incidence of hepatic adenoma tumors and hepatocellular carcinoma was observed in the mice. Decreased incidences of benign tumors (polyps and adenomas) in other organs (mammary gland, uterus, pituitary, testis, and pancreas) were also noted in the rats. In another study, delta-9-THC, delta-8-THC, and cannabinol were found to inhibit the growth of Lewis lung adenocarcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo. In addition, other tumors have been shown to be sensitive to cannabinoid-induced growth inhibition.

Cannabinoids may cause antitumor effects by various mechanisms, including induction of cell death, inhibition of cell growth, and inhibition of tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. Cannabinoids appear to kill tumor cells but do not affect their nontransformed counterparts and may even protect them from cell death. These compounds have been shown to induce apoptosis in glioma cells in culture and induce regression of glioma tumors in mice and rats. Cannabinoids protect normal glial cells of astroglial and oligodendroglial lineages from apoptosis mediated by the CB1 receptor.

In an in vivo model using severe combined immunodeficient mice, subcutaneous tumors were generated by inoculating the animals with cells from human non-small cell lung carcinoma cell lines. Tumor growth was inhibited by 60% in THC-treated mice compared with vehicle-treated control mice. Tumor specimens revealed that THC had antiangiogenic and antiproliferative effects.

* ANTI-INFLAMMATORY EFFECTS

In addition, both plant-derived and endogenous cannabinoids have been studied for anti- inflammatory effects. A mouse study demonstrated that endogenous cannabinoid system signaling is likely to provide intrinsic protection against colonic inflammation. As a result, a hypothesis that phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids may be useful in the prevention and treatment of colorectal cancer has been developed.

* ANTIVIRAL PROPERTIES

Another study has shown delta-9-THC is a potent and selective antiviral agent against Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), also known as human herpesvirus 8. The researchers concluded that additional studies on cannabinoids and herpesviruses are warranted, as they may lead to the development of drugs that inhibit the reactivation of these oncogenic viruses. Subsequently, another group of investigators reported increased efficiency of KSHV infection of human dermal microvascular epithelial cells in the presence of low doses of delta-9-THC.

* APPETITE STIMULATOR

Many animal studies have previously demonstrated that delta-9-THC and other cannabinoids have a stimulatory effect on appetite and increase food intake. It is believed that the endogenous cannabinoid system may serve as a regulator of feeding behavior. The endogenous cannabinoid anandamide potently enhances appetite in mice. Moreover, CB1 receptors in the hypothalamus may be involved in the motivational or reward aspects of eating.

* AS A PAIN KILLER

The understanding of the mechanism of cannabinoid-induced analgesia has been increased through the study of cannabinoid receptors (endocannabinoids), and synthetic agonists and antagonists. The CB1 receptor is found in both the central nervous system (CNS) and in peripheral nerve terminals. Similar to opioid receptors, increased levels of the CB1 receptor are found in sections of the brain that regulate nociceptive processing. CB2 receptors, located predominantly in peripheral tissue, exist at very low levels in the CNS. With the development of receptor-specific antagonists, much additional information about the roles of the receptors and the endogenous cannabinoids in the modulation of pain has also been obtained.

Cannabinoids may also contribute to pain modulation through an anti-inflammatory mechanism; a CB2 effect with cannabinoids acting on mast cell receptors to attenuate the release of inflammatory agents, such as histamine and serotonin, and on keratinocytes to enhance the release of analgesic opioids.

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

blah blah blah, you know what this reads to the doper? I have a backache, now I can get stoned! My knee hurts, now I can get stoned! My elbow, finger, toe etc hurts, whoo hooo, pass the joint dude!!!!

That is what happened 2 years ago. you want that again?

Bob Marshall
Bob Marshall

No, I want it totally legal so you don't have to have a medical condition to get stoned. Your so called abuse is nothing but people using a med problem to get grass when they shouldn't need any excuse at all. Having a healthy alternative to liquor is the best thing about this. Btw, have you noticed you're the only mad dog in this pack? Get a clue and hide out in the dog house with a nice bone to calm yourself down. Haven't you made enough of a fool of yourself today?

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

hey "bob marshall", LOL, I'm making a fool of myself? funny, I'm not the one who needs dope to make it through the day. I'm not in HS anymore, I grew up, I don't want or need drugs, you however truly need to get a life and get off the dope. how embarrassing to need to be stoned. so immature. "healthy" alternative? HAAAAAA!! now that cracks me up. since when is putting smoke into your lungs healthy???? moron.

goodneighbor
goodneighbor

not only that but: http://www.worldhealth.net/news/cannabinoids_kill_hospital_superbug_mrsa/
Chemicals found in marijuana called Cannabinoids may prove useful in the fight against the antibiotic-resistant superbug MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), new research suggests.

Results of a study by researchers in Italy and the UK has revealed that the five major cannabinoids in the Cannabis sativa plant are effective against different strains of MRSA. Two of the cannabinoids tested are nonpsychotropic, which means that they do not possess the mood-altering properties associated with marijuana. Furthermore, the researchers found that the cannabinoids kill bacteria in a different way to traditional antibacterial drugs, thus meaning that MRSA may not be able to develop resistance against them.

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16

There is no debate: Marijuana is absolutely safer than alcohol, tobacco, and all prescription and over-the-counter medicines, while Prohibition, a costly nightmare that enriches both criminals and corrupt politicians, is a threat to us all.

Legal or not, millions of citizens are already using marijuana. What many sane people are now proposing, is to take the criminal aspect out of it, collect revenues from its sale, and instead of spending billions of precious tax dollars on doomed-to-failure enforcement, put it's 'taxable income' to work for the whole community.

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

How about we take welfare away? That would save millions! I'd rather my taxes are used to prohibit drug use than to give it away to the lazy filth of this country!

kevin11
kevin11

You would "rather your taxes are used to prohibit drug use"? In case you haven't noticed, the govt spends $104 billion per year on the 'war on some drugs' and it hasn't stopped or even reduced drug use.

D
D

Unfortunately, madtaxpayer, you only show ignorance of exactly who benefits from medical cannabis. You obviously have only known lazy people, past and present.

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

people do not need to smoke dope to survive. it is an excuse to get stoned, plain and simple. we saw the abuse when we allowed med pot, I watched a pregnant woman smoke a joint outside of the orange street pot shop. please tell me how I am to actually believe it is for medicinal purposes again? LOL, what a joke.

kevin11
kevin11

Tylenol is the 'joke'. It is the #1 cause of liver failure.

D
D

If you feel this way, then don't consume it and keep out of other's business who do. Like I said before, you really need to hang out with a different group of people than the losers you seem to surround yourself with and see.

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

everyone who uses drugs are losers. I do not hang out with losers. drugs are for the weak.

goodneighbor
goodneighbor

got the dt's yet ? appears like you do...probably another drink would ease your pain

Watching
Watching

Yes, great idea madtaxpayer! Let's all go back to being irresponsible, dope-smoking hippies - back to the days when America's biggest problem was litter alongside the roads! And let's give up on this whole "work" thing! What does work get you but limited time for the truly important things in life, like smoking dope!

Watching
Watching

Hey madtaxpayer, why don't you light up a big fat one! Trust me on this: it will make you less mad.

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

hey moron, I tried pot in HS. I GREW UP! as an adult, I can find much more entertaining and worthwhile things to do other than to sit around getting stoned! I'll leave that for the weak and lazy such as yourself.

kevin11
kevin11

"I tried pot in HS." In other words, you are a hypocrite. "Do as I say, not as I do". Pathetic.

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

well "kevin11" are you stil in HS? I did say I GREW UP, and I expect other ADULTS to grow up also. aren't we all supposed to learn from our mistakes and improve our lives? not continue to act like an 17 year old idiot when we're 40.

grow up.

Shenanigans
Shenanigans

We taxpayers spend $15,000,000,000+ a year on cannabis prohibition alone. $1,000,000,000,000 of our national debt is drug war spending since Nixon was in office. Is the "patriot" in you bothered by for-profit prisons? Is the "Christian" in you troubled by the insane violence the drug war condemns Mexico and other nations to suffer from? You're a madtaxpayer alright, but it's not because you're angry.

Re-Legalize Cannabis in all her forms!

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

I AM NOT A CHRISTIAN! I don't believe in the bible! I also however do not want to live in a society so desperate to smoke pot all day!!!! It's pathetic! It's immature! and we don't need any other drugs legalized, we have alcohol, isn't that enough for you weak people???? Do you really need drugs and alcohol to survive? poor sick idiots

kevin11
kevin11

"Do you really need drugs and alcohol to survive? "

So you are calling for alcohol prohibition? Care to guess why we repealed alcohol prohibition in this country? Could it have been because of "sick idiots" like Al Capone?

kevin11
kevin11

It figures that you are not a Christian. Anyone that supports prohibition is an agent of Beelzebub.

Genesis 1:29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it

Bob Marshall
Bob Marshall

i think I know you. You were one of those prim, little, tight aces we used to laugh off the street. The hippies never were lazy, of course. They just believed in a lot more creative -- and productive -- way of looking at the world. Much of their (our) revolution succeeded and made America a much better and humane place to live...until the sick, right wing counter revolution brought us all down again to where we now are.

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

Really? huh, who paid for those hippies to use a doctor, hospital, who paid for their vehicle insurance? I'm just curious because they didn't WORK! please tell me exactly how they improved this country by driving around in their vans, smoking pot, having sex and begging for money???? wow, someone must have been to stoned to see the truth.

Bob Marshall
Bob Marshall

I paid for it. I WAS a hippie...still one at heart. I worked enough to pay for everything including my own college classes -- a place you obviously never went near. We had plenty of time for the grass and all that evil sex without quitting work. In those days you could actually make a living without killing yourself with three jobs. I was also a war protester and a civil rights demonstrator. I hope that blows the gasket out of your smelly, little lizard heart. Those were two of the ways we made the country better.

D
D

Your assumption that only deadbeats use cannabis is only showing your ignorance. You need to surround yourself with a better quality of people. You might be surprised how many productive, tax-paying citizens need cannabis to help them with pain, etc. And, most doctors agree. My little bro had cancer and the doctor told him off the record to use cannabis to help with his chemo sickness.

goodneighbor
goodneighbor

I think this country is in desperate need of a new crop of hippies to fight against the tea party madness! come on youngsters, get er done!

justthinking
justthinking

doknobody, PLEASE tell us you are kidding; trying to be sarcastic; something other than that your writing represents your true feelings.

doknobody
doknobody

Howard should be proud of what he's doing !
Because of him I and others by our meds "illegally "
Price is cheaper, No state or fed taxes to pay. No insurance or S.S. to pay,
No workers comp to pay, No middle man to pay , No licenses to buy or stores to rent, No $100 fee's with 2 doctors to pay !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Howard is right, illegal is better, We do not pay anything to the State or Feds this way.
Keep up the good work preventing our cost to go up this way.
YEA Howard !!!

Watching
Watching

Exactly right doknobody! Ignore the law, ignore the legislature and smoke all the pot you want whenever you want!

madtaxpayer
madtaxpayer

"meds?" LOL! ok whatever you want to call it to make yourself feel better about being a lazy druggie. I hope the cops catch ya soon! I'd gladly pay increased taxes to put all of you dopers in jail.

goodneighbor
goodneighbor

I think mad taxpayer needs another drink to calm his nerves

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