Montana Cannabis Users Face Legal Dilemma For Meds

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Missoula – Those in Montana who rely on medical marijuana face a new reality after Wednesday’s passing of a new Montana law: more than a dozen pot dispensaries statewide are now shut down.

Thousands of medical marijuana recipients are left with no legal way to get marijuana.

Some people said on Thursday that they’re now considering the idea of “pot tourism,” going out of state to Washington in order to find a solution, an idea that brings up a risky legal issue.

Lyn Sharkey, a Missoula resident for 20 years, said that her options are limited now.

“I was hoping I would wake up this morning and there would be a stay of execution for medical marijuana,” Sharkey said on Thursday. “I’m not out to get high. The marijuana actually helps me.”

Sharkey suffers from cancer, along with fibromyalgia and polymyalgia, and said marijuana made her feel almost normal.
Using her medical marijuana card, Sharkey said her medicine helped her cope with the stresses and sickness that comes from chemotherapy, all the way down to simply being able to sit still and not feel pail constantly.

“If [government officials] could experience what I do, as a medical marijuana patient, I think their views would be very different,” Sharkey said.

A 3-hour drive down I-90 from Missoula could bring Sharkey- or any Missoula resident- into Washington, where marijuana is legal.

However, bringing that marijuana back across Idaho and Montana state boundaries is not legal, and Washington dispensaries don’t recommend it.

“I wish I was and I could just say ‘go do it,’ or wink at them when I say it, but I can’t,” said Brittany Choyce, owner of The Green Shelf. “I have to be about the law and make sure it has to stay in Washington state.”

Choyce said her customers sometimes admit they want to bring it back to other states, a risk she says isn’t worth it.

“I don’t know what they do with it after they leave the building,” Choyce said. “I’ve actually asked my control officer about that and he said ‘You are responsible for it until it leaves your building.’ “

“I don’t want to go to jail, so I don’t want to put myself in jeopardy of violating any other state’s laws,” Sharkey said. “It’s just not worth it to me.”

Sharkey said pot tourism isn’t an option for her, but that she doesn’t know what she’ll do once her current supply runs out.

Dispensaries in Montana may be shut down for now, but the I-182 ballot initiative in the November election could reverse many of the restrictions put into place.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Montana Cannabis Users Face Legal Dilemma For Meds
Author: Joshua Robinson
Contact: ABC Fox Montana
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Website: ABC Fox Montana