A Montana Medical Cannabis Patient’s Introductory Guide to the Black Market


Montana is, as of June 1, 2011; issuing medical marijuana patient cards and renewals under emergency rules written by the DPHHS until July 1 when new regulations under SB 423 take effect. A troubling muddle of statements, clarifications, and retractions, Montana’s medical cannabis program is as confusing as ever and patients are looking for answers. Barring successful legal intervention prior to the new law’s inception, all patients will lose their current caregiver.  The patients who aren’t currently growing cannabis (I-148 allowed patients to grow their own in addition to selecting a caregiver to grow 6 plants on the patient’s behalf) will be forced to suffer needlessly until they either locate a altruistic nanny-approved grower (growers cannot be paid, all product is free) approved by the state or successfully complete the growth cycle of the plant (up to 6 months).

As transparency in the cannabis trade ends, illegal drug dealers across the state are expected to benefit from the new regulations. They are silently celebrating, raising prices, and preparing to retrieve the market share previously lost to the state’s legal medical cannabis industry. Many patients will inevitably turn to this segment of the population out of desperation and necessity.  Some already have after federal agencies began raiding Montana caregivers March 14, 2011. Stoners often find that locating a reliable and trustworthy black market purveyor of illegal substances is challenging so imagine the difficulty for Montana’s average stage IV elderly cancer patient.  Doing business with someone who operates in the illicit underworld presents many challenges which inspire me to offer the advice listed below. Note: Authorities in Montana have most likely provided confidential patient records/information to federal agencies.  At the very least, the state has failed to protect patients when federal agents have seized such records.  The federal government has been very inconsistent regarding marijuana policy and fewer patients are willing to expose themselves to the increased risk involved with becoming a cardholder. 

  • Contribute to MTCIA.  Hopefully someday, as a result of the group’s work, you won’t be forced to conduct clandestine transactions in dark alleys.  Considering you are suffering from a debilitating disease, you may be dead by that time, unfortunately.
  • Be discrete. If you absolutely must use the telephone, always operate on the assumption that it is tapped.  Don’t text or leave incriminating voice mail messages and don’t save the dealer’s number in your phone as “weed boy”.  If you must include “weed boy” in your contact list, consider using a legislator’s phone number for that contact.
  • Be polite.  Don’t complain about the price, you aren’t buying a used car. Blame prohibition, Montana’s 62nd legislature, or specifically, Senator Jeff Essmann for inflated prices.  Don’t be demanding.  Although Montana’s marijuana dealers aren’t typically murderous thugs, there are always exceptions and it is in your best interest to be friendly.
  •  Transactions require cash unless alternate arrangements have been made. Have exact change. No money back guarantees, no returns.  Trading for sex isn’t typical in the marijuana world, contrary to the testimony of Montana’s legislators.  When you prostitute yourself for cannabis, you are simply a slut.  Period.
  •  If you find a prompt, accommodating dealer who provides a good quality product at an acceptable price, consider yourself fortunate.  Tipping isn’t customary nor is it expected although it could definitely contribute to a copacetic (for some reason many dealers use that word) relationship with your new friend.
  • Lower your expectations.  Your experience will be nothing like a visit to your old dispensary.  Your dealer will probably not be punctual, so be patient. You will have fewer, if any; strain choices.
  • You may want to invest in a digital scale.  Ideally, the dealer will weigh the quantity in your presence, but if nothing else, weigh it when you get home.
  • If you are desperate, one-time transaction drug dealers can be located at jam band (Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers, etc) shows and festivals.  Vendors often sell delicious medibles (cannabis cheesecake, anyone?) in addition to medicine and cool stoner accessories.  Arrive early (and I’m talking HOURS early) to hang out on the lot prior to the event.  Listen for  the words “nuggets”, “kind bud” , “phatty nugs”, “headies”, etc.  This may be difficult if you are elderly or disabled due to your disease.  Perhaps you could ask a legislator to assist, if this is the case.
  • Although possession of larger quantities carries the risk of higher penalties, the fewer transactions you have with a dealer, the better. Except in cases like this.  Often the price is significantly lower in bulk as well.  Montana’s cartel members who have amassed a surplus choose to bury it in a van in their backyard.
  • Don’t deal with anyone under 18.  Ever. No matter what he/she is willing to do for just a taste of your medicine.

This is by no means a comprehensive or exhaustive list and should not be considered an endorsement of illegal activity. 


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Highlights From Lowlifes: Montana’s 62nd Legislature


This legislative session it seems Montana is ALWAYS in the news.  We’ve made “The Colbert Report”, “Anderson Cooper 360”, Huffington Post, New York Times, CNN, and according to Speaker Milburn, he was interviewed by the Swedish World Federation Against Drugs on a radio show.  We have yet to confirm this interview’s existence with anyone other than Speaker Milburn, but he assures us that it exists, and naturally, we believe him.  After all, he is the one who informed us that Montana is now known as a “source country, just like Columbia” because of our massive marijuana exports.  Although the session isn’t quite over, as leadership needed a vacation, here are a few highlights from Montana’s 62nd Legislative session.

  1. ‎”I’m going to ask that we take a minute here and reflect upon our own hypocrisy.” Rep. Rob Cook R-Conrad. INDEED.
  2. “If Jesus Christ himself were here today he would be an opponent of this bill,” Harris Himes speaking against a bill to abolish the death penalty.  Yes, Rev. Himes, if you were in the chair, he may indeed approve.
  3. “It’s poison, a kind of poison, it’s kind of like taking arsenic with Valium in it – it will make you feel good until it kills you. That’s the truth.” Rep. David Howard (R-Park City) speaking about medical marijuana.  And we all know marijuana kills…. how many people annually?  That’s right Rep. Howard, ZERO.
  4. “It is God himself who said homosexuality is an abomination and he has various punishments for it….. they will surely be put to death”.  Rev. Harris Hines in testimony supporting discrimination of gays. Again, that death thing.
  5. “The most important reason to repealing medical marijuana is  that marijuana and its usage is offensive to God”  Rev. Harris Himes.  Himes may want to check out Genesis 1:29
  6. “He (Dr. Carlton Turner)  told us he’d take almost any of the other drugs- crank, heroin, methamphetamines under clinical  conditions- but he wouldn’t take marijuana.  Every time they’d done a human test on it, it scared him half to death.”— Rep David Howard admits FEAR motivates him to lie?
  7. I’ll never have my brother back,  we need to save others people’s brothers.— Rep James Knox, fighting tears as he pimped his brother for marijuana repeal while inadvertently advocating nanny state government.
  8. My birth mom told me had abortion been legal, I wouldn’t have been calling her.”  Rep James Knox testifying on house floor on an abortion bill, making a great case for post natal abortion.
  9. Open Cow, Open Woman, Rep Regier compares women to cows.  This one defies all explanation.
  10. There’s new ways to kill you know, in prisons, they take little pieces of paper.  They take their blood, their saliva and do blow darts on the guards, there are new and unique ways to kill.” —Rep Janna Taylor.  I’m not sure what Taylor is getting at here.
  11. “I also voted no on this bill, the body should know that the people who run ponzi schemes, they don’t have any money of their own…. I couldn’t imagine standing in front of my constituents in Park City, where none of them make more than $35,000/yr to say we’re gonna come up with a scheme to get back up to 25,000 of what people have lost investing…….”  –Rep. Dave Howard who thinks his constituency is poor.
  12. Two wrongs don’t make a right– Sen. Verdell Jackson referring to victims of rape and incest.  While I’m not a fan of abortion, I wonder if Sen. Jackson would feel differently if he had been raped.
  13. ‎”The only way I’d be supportive of that (Dept. of Ag regulating medical marijuana) is if they treated marijuana as a noxious weed.” –Sen. John Brenden (R-Scobey). I grew up in this senate district and I can tell you, nobody up there gives a damn about medical marijuana.  Brenden is a bit noxious himself.
  14. “Across the street from the church was a bevy of good-looking young ladies going in and out of this place……they were growing marijuana across the street…. I didn’t know such good-looking women were interested in horticultural prospects”– Rev. Harris Himes. Where do we find these guys? Himes is made for mockery!
  15. “I got a medical marijuana business who moved in next door to me and it’s been craziness ever since. You see ’em them behind their shop, behind the commercial building, they got their arms outstretched, they’re trying to fly. I find people sleeping in my vehicles in front of my business. A month and a half ago they buried a van.”– Austin Kaufman, Billings.
  16. Rep Ken Peterson: If women would make better choices they wouldn’t get cervical and breast cancer. So defund family planning already.
  17. If you act gay in public, Rep Ken Peterson wants your felon ass in jail for a decade.  Ten years in prison will teach you how to be straight, right?
  18. Steve Zabawa in SB 423 hearing: “Marijuana is illegal! The state of Montana is gonna get arrested!” Zabawa is no stranger to illegal activity, he does sell cars for a living.  He also hires most of his employees from the Alpha House, a halfway house for men returning to society after being imprisoned for major crimes. Several of his current sales and management staff are felons, actually.  A couple of them defrauded the federal government by filing false FEMA claims after Hurricane Katrina. After serving time, Zabawa hired them back!
  19. Sen. Ed Walker saying, “I don’t believe it can be reformed. It needs to be repealed. There are times the voters get it wrong, and that is what happened in 2004.”  I wonder if we may have also got it wrong in 201o when you were elected, Ed.  Just sayin’.
  20. Montana is now considered a “source country”, same as Columbia.“- Speaker Mike Milburn (R-Cascade) I wonder why anyone would bury a van filled with  marijuana if that is the case.  So many questions.
  21. “Sometimes the most compassionate answer you can give is no you don’t need this,” Senator Rowlie Hutton (R-Havre) said.  “When you love someone you are willing to do an intervention. I love this state, and it’s time we do an intervention,” concluded Hutton, who wants to take away medicine from the ill. Compassionate indeed.
  22. “The people who use medical marijuana for legitimate uses, they’ve been had. I think they probably feel like the dog who gets in the car and as they’re driving they realize they are going to the vet instead of the park. They got in with the wrong crowd,” testified Sen. Edward Walker (R-Billings).  The wrong crowd, Sen. Walker, spends time with you and your buddies at that creepy temple under the rims.
  23. Tough DUI laws “are destroying a way of life that has been in Montana for years and years,” said Rep. Hale.  But medical cannabis is WAY too dangerous.
  24. “Homosexuals can’t go out into the heterosexual community and try to recruit people, or try to enlist them in homosexual acts,” Peterson says. He provides an example: “‘Here, young man, your hormones are raging. Let’s go in this bedroom, and we’ll engage in some homosexual acts. You’ll find you like it.’” Peterson hasn’t actually seen this happen, he says, because “I don’t associate with that group of people at all… I’ve associated with mainstream people all my life.” Again, those mainstream people hang out at the LDS temple in west Billings.
  25. And then we have this beauty.  You be the judge.
Special thanks to Hiedi Handford of Montana Connect Magazine for editing and uploading the 300+ testimony videos.  Other legislative testimony can be viewed on her YouTube channel here