Montana Voters Approve Medical Marijuana Initiative; Marijuana Measures Defeated in Oregon, Alaska
Montana voters on Tuesday approved 62% to 38% a ballot initiative to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes by patients with chronic illnesses, including HIV/AIDS or cancer, while voters in Oregon rejected 58% to 42% an initiative to expand the state's medical marijuana program, the AP/Chicago Sun-Times reports. Alaska voters rejected 57% to 43% an initiative to decriminalize marijuana possession for people ages 21 and older (Crary, AP/Chicago Sun-Times, 11/3). The Montana ballot initiative approves the use of marijuana by patients with a prescription. The measure in Oregon would have changed the state's medical marijuana law that was passed in 1998 to allow patients to possess up to one pound of the drug and 10 plants at one time. The initiative also would have required not-for-profit groups to obtain licenses from the state in order to distribute marijuana. The measure was opposed by the Oregon Medical Association, district attorneys in the state and the Bush administration. Thirty-five states previously have enacted legislation recognizing the drug's medicinal value. California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington already have laws permitting the use of medical marijuana (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/1). With the initiative's passage, Montana becomes the 10th state to allow marijuana to be used by patients who have a doctor's prescription, according to the Los Angeles Times (Tizon, Los Angeles Times, 11/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.