Medical marijuana reform worries some in Flathead

Flathead County ranks third in Montana when it comes to medical marijuana caregivers and card holders and with medical marijuana reform on the horizon, many caregivers and patients could be effected by the debate going on in Helena.

You can see medical marijuana signs all across the Flathead and the question now is what will happen if the Montana Legislature passes the medical marijuana reform bill being debated in Helena.

There are currently 711 medical marijuana caregivers and 3,600 medical marijuana card holders in Flathead County and caregivers and patients have been hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

If legislators pass the proposed Montana Medical Marijuana Act, certain restrictions would be placed on medical marijuana.

Green Haus Organic Dispensery Manager Danielle DeLeon never knew about the benefits of medical marijuana until she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the immune system. During her eighth cycle of treatment she used medical marijuana and was able to control heavy nausea and hold down bland foods.

The bill being debated in Helena, which passed both the House and Senate on Tuesday would place new restrictions on medical marijuana including the need for a specified list of debilitating medical conditions in order to qualify for a medical marijuana card.

DeLeon said that it’s unfortunate that some people are abusing access to medical marijuana as opposed to those that actually need it for releif.

“Some people do make medical marijuana look foolish and I don’t approve of those people. We don’t really take on patients that we get an odd vibe from, as if we feel that they’re trying to take advantage [of the law]. We try to stay away from attrackting those types of patients,” DeLeon explained.

DeLeon and another employee would lose their jobs if the newly crafted Montana Medical Marijuana Act, including income money that DeLeon uses to pay for her tuition for Flathead Valley Community College.

The dispensery she works at would change drastically also. “We would just be clearing this area out, it would be a huge financial burden,” DeLeon said.

The medical marijuana reform bill would go into effect on July 1st if it’s passed and then signed into law by Governor Brian Schweitzer.

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