Montana marijuana clinic firebombed before moratorium vote

Montana Therapeutics gives marijuana to about 50 people. Monday's firebombing caused about $2,500 in damage but no injuries.
Montana Therapeutics gives marijuana to about 50 people. Monday's firebombing caused about $2,500 in damage but no injuries. (Larry Mayer/billings Gazette Via Associated Press)

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By Associated Press
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Someone threw a molotov cocktail through the window of a Billings, Mont., business that provides marijuana for medical use early Monday and spray-painted "NOT IN OUR TOWN" on its storefront, the second such act in as many days, authorities said.

The incidents come as the Billings City Council is scheduled to vote Monday night on a six-month moratorium on approving additional marijuana businesses.

A rock was used to break the glass of Montana Therapeutics at 4:30 a.m. Monday, and a beer bottle filled with gasoline was lighted and thrown inside, according to Sgt. Kevin Iffland of the Billings police. A passerby reported the fire.

Fire crews quickly put out the small blaze, Deputy Fire Marshal Trevor Schilling said.

About 5 a.m. a day earlier, surveillance video showed two young men spray-painting "NOT IN OUR TOWN" on the front of Big Sky Patient Care and throwing a rock through the front door followed by a flaming bottle, Big Sky owner David Couch said.

Nobody was injured in either instance.

Trevor McFarren, co-owner of Montana Therapeutics, said his business provides marijuana for about 50 people and has never had a problem, a complaint or even a bad phone call since opening in January, he said.

McFarren said he believes that Monday's council vote is linked to the attack, which he said caused about $2,500 in damage.

"I'm sure they're trying to fuel the fire about" the vote, he said. "It's more of an attack on the community than anything." Couch also said he has not had any complaints since his business opened in April. He declined to say how many patients Big Sky has.

"If anything good comes out of this, it will probably be a desire for more education in the general public," he said.

Police have no suspects, Iffland said. Surveillance video may have captured what happened, but the building's owners do not want to release the video to police until they speak to their attorney, Iffland said.

Detectives were investigating whether the acts were committed by those who oppose such businesses or by business rivals, Iffland said.


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