No matter where you stand on the issue of medical marijuana use, Montana has become a hotbed for debate on a national level. -Michelle

Cheech and Chong

HELENA, Mont. -- The Republican-led House backed full repeal Thursday of the state's medical marijuana law, arguing it is time to undo the 2004 ballot initiative that spawned an industry few envisioned.

House Speaker Mike Milburn, carrying the measure himself, said medical marijuana use has gone far beyond what voters approved and argued it is too late to attempt to rein it in.

He said the medical marijuana law has led to an abundance of the drug in attracting a criminal element and an illegal trade that has moved into schools and even beyond state borders.

"It is starting to undermine the entire fabric of our state," Milburn told the House during floor debate. "It is time to take back our state and our culture and do what is best for Montana."

The House approved the repeal bill mostly along party lines 63-37. It faces one more largely procedural vote in that chamber before going to the Senate, where it is expected to face a tougher road.

Several Republicans in the Senate are openly backing the alternative of strict regulation of the industry.

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