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Medical Marijuana Clinic Firebombed Before Moratorium Vote

Medical Marijuana Clinic Firebombed Before Moratorium Vote

Montana Therapeutics gives marijuana to about 50 people. Monday's firebombing caused about $2,500 in damage but no injuries. (Larry Mayer/billings Gazette Via Associated Press)

Associated Press

May 11, 2010

BILLINGS, MT – Someone threw a molotov cocktail through the window of a Billings, Mont., business that provides marijuana for medical use early Monday and spray-painted “NOT IN OUR TOWN” on its storefront, the second such act in as many days, authorities said.

The incidents come as the Billings City Council is scheduled to vote Monday night on a six-month moratorium on approving additional marijuana businesses.

A rock was used to break the glass of Montana Therapeutics at 4:30 a.m. Monday, and a beer bottle filled with gasoline was lighted and thrown inside, according to Sgt. Kevin Iffland of the Billings police. A passerby reported the fire.

Fire crews quickly put out the small blaze, Deputy Fire Marshal Trevor Schilling said.

About 5 a.m. a day earlier, surveillance video showed two young men spray-painting “NOT IN OUR TOWN” on the front of Big Sky Patient Care and throwing a rock through the front door followed by a flaming bottle, Big Sky owner David Couch said.

Nobody was injured in either instance.

Trevor McFarren, co-owner of Montana Therapeutics, said his business provides marijuana for about 50 people and has never had a problem, a complaint or even a bad phone call since opening in January, he said.

McFarren said he believes that Monday’s council vote is linked to the attack, which he said caused about $2,500 in damage.

“I’m sure they’re trying to fuel the fire about” the vote, he said. “It’s more of an attack on the community than anything.” Couch also said he has not had any complaints since his business opened in April. He declined to say how many patients Big Sky has.

“If anything good comes out of this, it will probably be a desire for more education in the general public,” he said.

Police have no suspects, Iffland said. Surveillance video may have captured what happened, but the building’s owners do not want to release the video to police until they speak to their attorney, Iffland said.

Detectives were investigating whether the acts were committed by those who oppose such businesses or by business rivals, Iffland said.

The medical marijuana trade has boomed in Montana since the Obama administration last year said it would not prosecute those cases. The state has approximately 15,000 patients — up from 800 in 2008 — and about 5,000 registered caregivers who provide them with marijuana, according to the state Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Montana is different from other states in that it has no marijuana dispensaries for patients. Instead, each patient is required to designate a caregiver who provides the pot.

The growth has exposed holes in the state medical-use marijuana law that was passed by ballot initiative in 2004, and the state legislature is hearing recommendations on changes from law enforcement, cities, schools and patients who use marijuana.

Meanwhile, Montana’s cities and towns are testing different ways to deal with commercial growers. Some have banned them from within the city limits; others are seeking ways to regulate them like other businesses. Several cities have imposed temporary moratoriums on new businesses while they figure out a permanent solution.

Billings has issued more than 80 business licenses for stores selling marijuana for medical purposes. The council will decide Monday night whether to put a six-month ban on additional stores within city limits and whether to close those that are within 1,000 feet of a school or a park.

Tom Daubert, an advocate for medical marijuana use who led the initiative campaign in 2004, condemned the attacks but also said some of the businesses need to act with more dignity.

Daubert said Montanans never voted for marijuana storefronts that advertise or commercial production centers in residential neighborhoods.

“The law needs to be modernized, with regulation and oversight designed to prevent some of the undignified and unprofessional behavior we are seeing,” he said.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    I'm with other posters who said to make it legal and tax it, and that it's amazing how worked up everyone gets over marijuana but not alcohol. Only one of these two substances has a high record in my experience of turning people into unreasonable, unpredictable idiots.

  • Images_max50

    OFFICER_K_CPD

    over 4 years ago

    2296 Comments

    LOL.

  • Picture_008_max50

    wildsoldier

    over 4 years ago

    1246 Comments

    I think the business owner burned it down for the insurance money...What a great backup plan in case the moratorium doesn't pass....cha ching...

  • 100_0638_max50

    nathanhammontree

    over 4 years ago

    20 Comments

    Well see since it's a Schedule I drug you can not get a prescription. The MT law is so vague and is really causing a lot of problems. Most of the users are < 25 and have "cronic pain". There are proposals for the state to be the licensed provider, doubt that will pass. Now you just register as a provider and you can grow 6 plants for each of your "patients" and have 1 oz of harvested MJ for each. Oh, and the patient can grow 6 and have 1 oz also.

  • Badge__hat_max50

    Baxter2

    over 4 years ago

    1846 Comments

    The only difference between an officially sanctioned "Marijuana Store" and the drug house on the corner three alleys away is the "City of Billings Montana TAX PERMIT" displayed proudly in the window of the store. All is well and you're not a "Drug Dealer" so long as you buy your city permit. Absolute lunacy.

  • Justice-400_max50

    clobster

    over 4 years ago

    1552 Comments

    Strange how people get so worked up about something like marijuana but not alcohol.

  • Funny_pictures_56616_max50

    DarkBlue

    over 4 years ago

    4880 Comments

    COMING SOON............A GENERATION OF LAZY SELFISH CRY BABYS..........GENERATION Y .......COURTESY OF BARRY & FRIENDS
    Y AT 40 YRS OLD DO I STILL LIVE WITH MY MOM ?
    Y DO I HAVE TO WORK ?
    Y AM I ALWAYS LAZY ?
    Y AM I NOT ENTITLED TO EVERYTHING FOR FREE ?
    Y IS POT BAD FOR ME ?

  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50

    skascooter007

    over 4 years ago

    2010 Comments

    j0ksta200 - Great video hahahaha

  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50

    skascooter007

    over 4 years ago

    2010 Comments

    Make it legal and TAX IT!!!

    Then we can focus on removing the harder drugs off the streets

  • 3225_541527388055_44403931_31987246_224403_n_max50

    j0ksta2000

    over 4 years ago

    932 Comments

    sorry but i can't help but think of this video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTb2uu1aSUU .

  • Draped_badge_max50

    184retired

    over 4 years ago

    3806 Comments

    OK why are they marijuana businesses??? If it is medical marijuana let the pharmacies handle it...Let the government tax it, they do everything else, and use the revenues to lower the budget crisis we are in..Honestly we had a cop killed over a 1/2 lb marijuana buy and it's just not worth it. I have to admit I lean towards legalizing the crap. Down South we have ABC stores that sell booze instead of liquor stores like when I grew up in NY. They are govenment owned and operated...Do the same thing with the pot...

  • Images_max50

    OFFICER_K_CPD

    over 4 years ago

    2296 Comments

    ......

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