Friday, February 20, 2009

Capitol rally promotes marijuana as medicine

HELENA - Advocates for medical marijuana gathered in the capitol rotunda today to tout the plant's promise as a pain reliever.

Exhibits include live marijuana plants, each belonging to a registered medical marijuana user. Another exhibit showed the many uses of hemp. A crowd filled the rotunda as speakers discussed prescribing and using medical marijuana. Complimentary brownies were served at "high noon."

The rally was in support of Senate Bill 326, which would allow Montanans with prescriptions for the drug to possess up to 3 ounces. It would also expand the lists of illness for which marijuana could be prescribed.

Not everyone was pleased with the show. Rep. Tom McGillvray, R-Billings, questioned the legality of the display and said it should not be allowed.

But House Speaker Bob Bergren, D-Havre, said the marijuana display is covered by the First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Bergren also said Republican opposition to the rally was another example of how Republicans are out of touch with Montanans, because Montanans voted to legalize medical marijuana.

-Story and photo by CNS correspondent Molly Priddy

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