KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Montana And Other States Struggle To Contain Medical Marijuana Boom, Related Violence

The Wall Street Journal: "Fourteen states plus the District of Columbia have passed laws intended to give certain ill people legal access to medical marijuana. But, in many instances, municipalities are left to figure out how to implement state laws that are often vague when it comes to the day-to-day operations of the medical-pot business. Those laws have led to confusion in communities and pushed states including Colorado and Maine to clarify what is legal for the industry."

The Journal focused on recent activity in Montana:  "Billings City Council approved a temporary moratorium on the opening of new marijuana storefronts, shortly after firebombs were tossed at two such businesses and 'Not in Our Town' was spray painted on both buildings. Kalispell recently banned any new medical-marijuana stores in the city following the bludgeoning death of a patient that authorities believe was related to the theft of medical-marijuana plants" (Etter, 5/26).

The Associated Press: "A Montana physician who saw about 150 patients over 14 1/2 hours during a medical marijuana clinic last year will be fined $2,000 for providing substandard care, the first time a doctor in the state has been disciplined in a marijuana case. The state Board of Medical Examiners' action follows a stern warning issued by the board to doctors who participate in the 'cannabis caravans' that travel around the state registering medical marijuana patients. ... Montana now has about 15,000 registered patients, according to state health officials, up from 2,923 a year ago. A major factor in that boom has been the clinics sponsored by the Montana Caregivers Network that travel around the state, signing up hundreds of new patients at a time" (Volz, 5/25).

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