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.