Finding treasure in the "Treasure State"



Billings Gazette reporter Diane Cochran decided to personally test her state’s voter-initiated Medical Marijuana Act recently, timing exactly how long it took to get a doctor to recommend the use of pot. Eight minutes was the answer, courtesy of an Internet consultation, but according to the executive director of the pot-advocacy group, Montana Caregivers Network, even that was “too long.” The former surgeon Cochran spoke to failed to take a medical history, but he did offer some advice. He advised her not to smoke the marijuana she purchased — since smoking anything is unhealthy — and he recommended choosing a storefront run by people who have experience growing marijuana illegally, because they “have a lot of knowledge about it medically.” Montana’s pot permissiveness will no doubt cease in 2011, when many legislators say they’ll try to tighten up the law; meanwhile, undercover investigators say they’ve gotten licenses for medical marijuana a lot quicker than reporter Cochran. “The ones I’ve gone to, it’s been a minute,” said Mark Long, narcotics bureau chief for the state.

In other Montana news, a Missoula couple who lost their cat flew in a Feline Finders team from the East Coast “to track down the elusive puss,” reports the Missoulian. The team consisted of Rio the hound dog and handler Lisa Bukowcyzk, who says she understands why cat owners would spare no expense: “They’re their babies. Your child might have four legs and fur, but it’s still your child.” Sadly, despite a $1,000 reward and the best efforts of tracker Rio, the chances of finding Ricky, a 7-year-old Himalayan, seemed slim. The cat was a former apartment dweller who had only recently discovered the outdoors, and “when Ricky wandered away, he went west.”

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