Why Even More Montanans Will Soon be Enjoying the Benefits of Medicinal Cannabis

Ever since Montana legalized the use of medical marijuana back in 2004, the situation has been a confusing one for users and dispensaries alike. In the first few years following the new law being introduced, it was something of a free-for-all with limited monitoring from the authorities.

Unhappy with the situation, in 2011 the state legislature introduced a law limiting each dispensary to servicing a maximum of three patients. Unfortunately, this soon became impractical, so the law was repealed. It then took three more years for new legislation to be introduced to try to bring some more order to the medicinal cannabis market and, when it came, the Senate Bill 265 paved the way for some big changes.

One of the most important of these changes was the abolition of “tethering”. Under this rule, patients were tied to a single dispensary. The problem with this, as Emmie Purcell who owns Missoula’s Greenhouse Farmacy has explained, was that if a patient could not easily reach their pharmacy because of work or travel commitments, they would be unable to obtain much needed medical marijuana.

However, the changes in the legislation have now made it possible to buy up to five ounces of medical marijuana a month from any of Montana’s registered dispensaries with a state-wide monitoring system in place to ensure no individuals exceed the permitted limit.

This is good news both for the many Montanans who have come to rely on medicinal marijuana as a treatment for a number of ailments. One of its most common uses is amongst people suffering from the degenerative disease multiple sclerosis. A symptom of this is the involuntary clenching and spasming of muscles and there is evidence to suggest that the cannabinoids in marijuana may act as a muscle relaxant.

It has also been suggested that it is effective in helping to relieve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting for cancer patients so often suffered following chemotherapy sessions. One particularly strong strain of medicinal cannabis called Rick Simpson Oil even has, so far unproven, claims to be useful in treating certain types of cancers itself. It’s named after its inventor, a Canadian man who developed a super-concentrated oil which he applied to his skin cancer tumor only to supposedly see it reduce in size.

Across the state registered dispensaries for this, and other less potent forms, of medicinal cannabis are expecting a flood of new business when untethering comes into effect, which it must by law by July 1 2020. As suppliers in Montana also have to grow their own cannabis to create a vertically integrated business, this is also creating considerable pressure on them to be ready for the increased demand if and when it arises.

But all the signs are there that they will be prepared in time with stocks in place and ready to sell – and that’s certainly going to be a big relief for a huge number of Montanans in Missoula and beyond.