A Cynical Shift in Prohibitionist Rhetoric

July 18th, 2011 by John Masterson Leave a reply »

In the beginning (of the 2011 legislative session), prohibitionist rhetoric concerning medical marijuana was alarming, even hysterical, completely over the top. A few examples:

Senator Essman, speaking in support of the repeal bill: “The greater good here is not losing a generation of young people, and that is why I am voting yes on this repeal bill.”

Representative Milburn, speaking in support of repeal: “This is rampant, it’s permeating through our society, it’s into our schools and families, it’s individual degradation, it’s causing huge problems…the tragic events taking place in Montana, changing society, changing culture.”

And of course, the instant classic from Representative Howard: “It’s poison, a kind of poison. It’s kind of like taking arsenic with Valium®, you’re going to feel good until it kills you…. it is affecting our schools and work, every facet of our life in Montana, and it is slowly but surely dragging us down. It is a drug induced society…. it’s a scourge.”

As a parenthetical aside, what exactly is a scourge?

scourge  (skûrj)
1. A source of widespread dreadful affliction and devastation such as that caused by pestilence or war.
2. A means of inflicting severe suffering, vengeance, or punishment.

Recently, the rhetoric of our opposition has shifted away from the scourge, to focus on the state/federal conflict in marijuana law.

Senator Shockley claimed last week: “The Legislature realized the tough situation that federal law enforcement was put in by the current law, and the risk to Montana citizens who wished to benefit from medical marijuana, either as a grower or a medical user. The Legislature was attempting to limit production in a way that would not attract federal attention.”

Essman, too: “The Legislature was grappling with trying to conform the law to a series of letters from U.S. attorneys that indicated a commercial business model would still be prosecuted…So that’s why we voted for that approach.”

With a slippery sidestep, now they’re saying they were just trying to protect us from federal law enforcement. Their absurd hyperbole didn’t work, so they’ve shifted gears to try and get us to believe that they were trying to protect…. brace yourself… people who grow marijuana. Does anyone else find that hard to believe?
Most Montanans recognized the earlier prohibitionist statements as ridiculous lies.

Most Montanans acknowledge that marijuana has been around a long time, lots of people have tried it, some people like it, and some people derive real therapeutic benefits from it.

We don’t have to lie. We have truth, liberty, and justice on our side, so we can simply continue telling the truth.

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  1. Don says:

    Well I sure am happy to hear our legislators goals were not to go against the needs of the sick and suffering. They are just trying too protect us from the feds. What a big load of bull! I tell you this when elections come around I will remember. I will remember those who stand on the side of defending the patient as well as those who respond with rhetoric over science. The ignorance demonstrates how unwilling our legislators are too spend the energy and time too educate themselves even when dealing with those who are suffering. I am not pleased in anyway when the will of the voter is so easily overlooked and then try to cover it over by stating you are protecting us. Shame on you!

  2. longbud says:

    You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille

  3. Denita Carman says:

    HB 161′s the Best Thing that Could’ve Happened
    by Denita Carman on Monday, August 15, 2011 at 5:08pm

    The best thing the legislators could have done for the caregivers and patients last session was to pass a total repeal, and succeeded in talking the the governor into signing HB 161. If they had, we would have had an uprising, with 4,000 caregivers out gathering petitions, rather than the token 10% or 400 gatherers that we have, and we would have had 100% of the gatherers out gathering signatures with all their strength.

    If legislators would have passed HB 161 this year, we would already have I-148 reinstated as law in our state through the petition, and it would have been done in less than a month. Instead, legislators such as Essmann were clever enough to pass a repeal in disguise, which mislead the public into believing the system had been repaired, and lulled the medical marijuana community into complacency– and complacency is the deadliest of all emotions to freedom, free enterprise, and prosperity. If any of you do not understand that SB 423 is a repeal that completely destroys the medical marijuana program in Montana, then please watch what is happening in Billings alone, with Yellowstone county lining up next to bat in the shutting down of caregiver businesses.

    The state still gave us all a fair shot at stomping out and destroying SB 423, for good, with the petition deal they agreed to. Even with 4000 caregivers, the state still only required us to come up with less than 80,000 signatures, which would have required each caregiver to round up almost 20 signatures in 12 weeks, equaling 2 or less signatures per week— (Not a lot of effort involved there). Even with the mere 10% who showed up (400 people) to be gatherers, we were only required to each go out and get 200 to 250 signatures during the entire 12 weeks, which would have equaled about 20 signatures per week. 20 signatures can be gathered in 2 hours. 2 hours per week is a tiny price to pay for medical freedom, and for keeping your job and your livelyhood.

    We can’t realistically continue to place the responsibility upon the state or the legislators now, for loss of an industry. If you are a caregiver who never became a gatherer, look in the mirror for the responsible party. If you are one of the 400 gatherers who is not on your way to turning in a total of 250 signatures to your trainer before the 12 weeks are up,then on September 30, look in the mirror to see who helped this industry go down.

    Denita Carman

  4. Dave says:

    When I first heard about the first petition, I found a phone number to call and volunteer to be a signature gatherer.The person who answered the phone at first had no idea what I was talking about.When I finally got them to understand what I wanted, they took my name and address, and said the packet would be in the mail.I never heard from them again.I could have gathered at least 100 signatures.
    It seems to me, that the ball has been dropped at the very top.If someone could explain this to me, It would be appreciated.

    • By “first petition”, I assume you mean for IR-124 last summer? Not sure what happened or who you called, sorry.

      Please don’t be discouraged. We’re a mostly volunteer effort, doing our best. If you can help with CI-110, please get in touch today!

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