Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Havre's Medical Marijuana Moratorium - A Solution? or just Passing the Buck?

The city council passed the moratorium on medical marijuana businesses last week for a period of 6-months and also allowed an exception that would “grandfather” in existing operations as long as that existing grow operation registered with the city within 10 business days of the passage of the moratorium and agreed to not expand their operation until more long-term rules could be put into place. The existing grow operations were asked to register at city hall as to their current location and the number of patients they currently have. A week has passed and our source at the city said that so far there has been no rush by the growers to comply with this provision. If none of the existing operations comply by the deadline next Friday just what does the city plan on doing to enforce this moratorium requirement? We are guessing that they will enforce this as they enforce every other ordinance they currently have on the books which is to ignore the obvious and do nothing, but then again, we are cynical by nature. The new ordinance carried no new set penalty for non-compliance but the city does have a penalty for standard misdemeanors which can impose a penalty of up to a $500 fine and 6-months in jail and several members of the council have indicated that this is adequate for this problem without making any new laws.

A group of approximately 30-40 people have repeatedly taken the council to task to do something about regulating this new industry that is rapidly growing in our area. Their spokesman, Rip Steckel, said they have collected over 200 signatures from people that have concerns with the industry and how it is regulated, or for a better term, is unregulated. We have also been informed that this group is meeting tonight with Peter Federspiel, an agent with the region 1 Tri-Agency Task Force, to hear his views on the subject. The local Tri-Agency Task Force deals with narcotics within an 11 county region. http://www.mnoa.org/?page=board
If any of our readers belong to this group and would like to send us a report after tonight’s meeting we would be happy to post your story at havredailycorrector@bresnan.net

So now we have a moratorium and a 6-month window to work on a solution, what is the next step? Does the council just plan to wait and see if the State Legislature will actually do something about the vagueness of the oversight regulations and enforcement mechanisms? If that is the case the 6-month moratorium will not be enough as it is nearly 10 months until the legislative session can be completed. The council also suggested the option of looking in to a business license structure for the City of Havre. Currently business licenses are not required for businesses in either commercial or residential areas. There is an ordinance that prohibits businesses from locating in certain areas but again, it is rarely enforced. How would these licenses work? They surely don’t think they can single out a particular type of business such as a marijuana grow center or dispensary which would mean that all Havre businesses would have to have a license and oversight if this was to be fair.

Interestingly I just got back from Great Falls where I took my mother to spend a few days visiting relatives over Mother’s day and I learned that Great Falls requires licensing of businesses. For businesses located in residential areas they require what is called a Home Occupation Certificate from the city. Anyone wanting to have a home office or conduct any kind of home business must first get permission from neighboring residents. They must determine how their business will affect the neighborhood such as traffic, noise, or how the business may or may not visually change the neighborhood. The Great Falls ordinances state that not more than one-third of the total square footage of the home can be used for the business and that if the business has employees they can’t be at the home for over 40 hours per week and they can’t store materials, inventory, or other debris outside the home. With some thought and intelligent debate I would think Havre could come up with something that would be acceptable to everyone using a business license structure.


  1. I personally know a few of the mentioned caregivers and they plan on giving the city everything they have asked for. THough it apears that it is against the law to ask such things of them they are still going to do whatever the city asks. THey should just extend the moratorium untill febuary and let the state worry about it. Rip Steckle the gun dealer has collected over 200 signatures, months after we collected over 300. It took us two days. We are willing to do it for weeks and get thousands if needed. Seems it took Rip some time to get ALL these signatures.

  2. This is just a stall an at the end of the 6 months the council will be dealing with this all over again.

    There is nothing being done to regulate and these dope dealers are laughing all the way to the bank with the tax free money. I see in the papers that if one of these guys is illegal the police always leave them with plants because they have a card even when they raid the law breaking joints that have too many plants

  3. Since Montana is having such a hard time with legalizing Medical Marijuana, why don't they call a state where it has worked well for quite awhile?

    In Oregon, it has been legal and working well for quite a long time.
    They could give Montana some advice on how to operate and conduct.

    I have a feeling a lot of this is due to Havre's lack of planning and lack of enforcement. Like stated in the article, they don't enforce many of the current ordinances, but then the police are super busy giving everyone and their dog a DUI or PFMA charges.

    I also think we need to stop whining about if it should or should not take place. It was voted in, people want it. The best course of action would be to decide how to facilitate to where it is fair for everyone involved in our community.

  4. How do you figure the money is tax free Suzy? All income is taxed. I know a local caregiver that pays taxes quarterly in fact. some people are just mad that there is more money in medical marijuana then what they make. Fact of the matter is he probably pays more taxes than you do Suzy. That means he contributes more to the community. Does that bother you? Its sad that your mad about people making money. Lets keep the money here in Havre. More money for Havre cant be a bad thing. Funny how a guy who sells guns that kill people is bitchin about a plant that kills noone. talk about backwoods backwords.

  5. I think all the same moratorium rules ought to apply to churches.

    They are heavily involved in politics ala Ms. Warburton, while for the most part enjoying a tax free status.

    There are many of us that think the garbage they spout out,lobby for, and attempt to get the rest of us to live under THEIR rules and THEIR belief system is far more dangerous than prescribed medical marijuana.

    I have not heard of any accusations in Havre, but since people are panicking, what the hell.

    There have been accusations around the world that priests have been molesting children.

    I think we should have a moratorium on ALL new churches, and any new church services.

    Permits should have to be purchased from the city for any special church event such as a wedding, funeral, or youth service.

    There should be hefty fees charged for all these events.

    They should also have to jump through hoops to become licensed, and they should be heavily taxed.

    Inspections should happend at frequent, unannounced intervals.

    As a new policy is explored, there should also be zoning rule established that churches must be a certain distance from any school or residential area, as there have been priests are accused of having innapropriate relationships with children.

    Also it should be remembered that many old people go to church, and all old people are purportedly bad drivers. They park all over the place, just as some people are complaining about the potential problem pertaining to people attempting to get their medication.

    In the interest of the children, STOP all churches immediately!!

  6. neocon-It's ok to do some politcal stumping in chuch now. Pelosi said it was! Or did she just mean if you were stumping for the right side????

    Of course this is just passing the buck. It is just a fence riding stall hoping that the issues work them selves out either on a statewide basis or in a community that has the balls to actually deal with it.

  7. Thinker-

    I am not NEO-CON.

    He speaks for himself.

    I do not subject people to nearly the cut and pasting that he does, nor do I agree with him on about anything.......

  8. Sorry decon! My bad. Either a senior moment or a brain fart.

  9. i am still confused on this whole medical marijuana issue being a big deal.

    Havre had tons of marijuana in it. Still does. People weren't worrying that their homes would be broken into because their teenage son had a stash.

    It is still isn't legal for the general person. It is for those who applied, got a card, and use it.

    Marijuana will still be around even if it is made illegal for everyone again.

    If it is truly this big of an issue, why were no signatures collected 4, 5, 10 years ago to make harsher laws?

  10. To decon i'm heading out right now,with notebook in hand,and with any luck i may get 200 signatures in 6 months or so.