UPDATE: HB161 VETOED!!! Governor Schweitzer, Please Veto HB161


Governor Schweitzer,

My name is Joseph Lacerenza. I started a small plant biotechnology company, Montana Biotech, in January 2010 here in Bozeman, Montana. I became a medical marijuana patient and caregiver of three patients in the fall of 2009.

I started in August 2006 as an undergraduate student at Montana State University studying plant biotechnology and working full time as a lab tech. I was asked to leave the plant science department, as an employee in August 2010, do to my choice of entrepreneurial adventuring.

I was not a trouble maker. I was published twice as the first author in two peer reviewed publications, one in Cereal Chemistry, 2006, and the other in The Oxford Journal of Experimental Botany, 2010. In 2007 I was awarded the Spirit of Ethanol Award from EPAC (Ethanol Producers And Consumers) for my research in bio-fuels at M.S.U. under the tutelage of Dr. Mike Giroux.

After I was asked to leave the plant science department I, Montana Biotech, had to lean heavily on the medical marijuana community for revenue by providing potency analysis of cannabis products, as well as, genetic profiling of marijuana. Clientele was hit and miss from August to November 2010 because there was already a well established potency analysis business, Montana Botanical Analysis.

There was not enough business coming in to the lab from potency and genetic analysis alone, that I had to remove myself from active status at M.S.U. this spring term and take a second job as a medical marijuana caregiver, actually asking for compensation.

My business made a profit for the first time in December 2010. I had to employ a friend to help with the 52% increase in business from December to January. February this year saw another 50% increase in business over January! February was the first month that potency and genetic analysis brought in more to Montana Biotech than medical marijuana receipts. March was looking better!!

Then, March 11th hits, the DEA comes and attacks one of my largest clients, Big Sky Patient Care. Business in potency analysis almost stopped over night!

Governor Schweitzer, please, I need some type of help to be competitive with the other plant biotech GIANTS like Monsanto, ADM, etc. I am actually getting to do science THEY can’t. I have this bubble of exclusivity!! Please, the bill HB 161 would force my small business to Washington State, Oregon, Arizona anywhere other than here. I provide a service no one else currently is, genetic profiling and plant sexing, females are currently worth more then males.

My sole proprietorship, plant biotechnology company is dependent on the medical marijuana community to be competitive, so……


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