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Medical marijuana's legal complications continue in U.S.

It can seem like Colorado is alone in the fight to keep medical marijuana legal and clarify the rights of residents to grow, sell and possess the drug, but it's not alone in that battle. For example, Montana also has legalized the use of medical marijuana and, like Colorado, is in the ongoing, complex process of trying to address various legal debates that have come up as a result of the change in drug laws.

In our previous post, we introduced one of the many legal struggles that has resulted from legalizing medical marijuana. Employers currently have the right to fire or not hire people who legally use marijuana for medical purposes. They are legally allowed to have a zero tolerance policy regarding the drug, even though it is prescribed and not abused by an employee. That issue is only one fight ahead of medical marijuana advocates.

The Colorado Independent is following a case in Montana because it exemplifies just one other gray area regarding legalized medical pot. A woman is fighting for her right to live free from pain and move on with her life. Medical marijuana has allowed her to do that in the past, but she is being told that pot is no longer an option for her. Why?

Even though medical marijuana is legal in her state, there are legal limitations. One of those limits says that people who are on probation are legally prohibited from using the drug. The woman in this case reportedly suffers from painful carpal tunnel syndrome, which she developed as a result of her former work. She says medical marijuana eases her pain and doesn't negatively affect her mental state as other drugs do.

The woman is being prohibited from using medical marijuana because she is on probation. She was convicted of credit card fraud and is currently serving probation to pay back for her reported offense. Despite the fact that the offense occurred more than a decade ago and that the woman is paying her debt to society, the law still bans her from medicating her pain. That doesn't sit well with her; therefore, she and her attorney have taken the issue to court, hoping to make a change in Montana law.

We will follow the issue of medical marijuana and the various legal dilemmas related to legalization that come up in Colorado and other parts of the country.

Source

The Colorado Independent: "In Montana, a lawsuit to decide if someone on probation can use medical marijuana," Scot Kersgaard, Sep. 7, 2011

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