- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009

MISSOULA, MONT. (AP) - It looks like the Montana Department of Transportation will stick to fixing potholes instead of helping to grow pot.

A Billings man has asked the department if he can have several light bulbs that were recently taken down from a Missoula bridge so he can use them to grow marijuana for medical patients.

A crew recently replaced the lights with cheaper fluorescent bulbs. Now, 25-year-old Rick Baker, a medical marijuana caregiver and patient, hopes the lights can help grow cannabis for a co-op that he wants to start in Missoula.

The Montana Medical Marijuana Act allows a patient and caregiver to keep up to six plants. Baker estimated the startup costs to care for that many plants at between $600 and $1,100, and he said the lights are an expensive part of the package.

DOT spokeswoman Charity Watt Levis said the department probably won’t donate the lights but will put them to good use.

Baker, who plans to attend the University of Montana this fall, says he is looking for commercial space to open the nonprofit Missoula Cannabis Co-op. He says the organization will give information about medical marijuana laws and will help patients get their medical cards, medicine and pipes.

Montana voters passed the medical marijuana initiative in 2004.

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Information from: Missoulian, http://www.missoulian.com

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