Local officials learn more about medical marijuana statewide issues

By Kay Braddock

        Prairie County Commissioners plan to meet with Mark Long of the Montana Department of Justice Narcotics Bureau to review current issues regarding medical marijuana.

Long recently gave an informational presentation to the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force in Miles City. Prairie County Sheriff Bill Klunder and Justice Court Judge Kathy Henry attended the two-hour March 18 seminar along with officials from 10 other counties.
Although no date has been set for Long to meet with the commissioners, Klunder, who is setting up the meeting, said it could likely take place before the end of June.
Information provided at the March 18 meeting included the process law enforcement agencies must go through in order to find out who has a medical marijuana card and who is a legal provider of medical marijuana. Law enforcement cannot ask for a list of names of medical marijuana users or providers, but as individual circumstances arise they can call to verify if a name is on either list.
The 2004 Initiative legalizing the use and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes has created some strain for law enforcement and municipalities.
“It’s one of the major issues across the state of Montana,” Klunder said, noting zoning, landlord concern of use in multiple resident complexes and medical privacy laws are just a few of the issues being weighed as the popularity of medical marijuana continues to increase.
“The big thing is they’re trying to keep it away from the schools,” Klunder said.
According to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Web site there are 12,081 medical marijuana cardholders in Montana. Caregivers within the state total 2,797. Each caregiver can legally possess six plants for every patient.
Here’s the breakdown for area counties: 
Medical marijuana cardholders Prairie County 4; Custer 47; Dawson 53; Fallon 17; McCone 3; Wibaux 4; Powder River 1; Richland 18; Rosebud 17
Medical marijuana caregivers Prairie County 0; Custer 9; Dawson 13; Fallon 0; McCone 1; Wibaux 1; Powder River 0; Richland 2; Rosebud 2
More statewide stats and information on medical marijuana can be found at the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services’s Web site at www.dphhs.mt.gov. Click the A-Z index and scroll down to the medical marijuana program link.

Published May 5, 2010

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