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) n. 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.