By showing our disapproval of last year’s attempt by the state legislature at “reigning in” Montana’s medical cannabis industry, we can send a message to our ‘representatives’ with impacts far beyond the plant’s use as medicine. Next time some of them try undermining the will of voters by passing a legislative sham, it’s unlikely their peers will forget the public backlash that inevitably follows such acts of deceit. Particularly when they are the subject of an award-winning director’s latest film, now likely to be extended with more heart-wrenching details from the ongoing saga. In short, the world is watching very closely.
If voters reject the farce of SB423, our state could be on the fast-track to developing the best medical cannabis laws in the nation. This is due to a variety of reasons, most notably that both major parties have made “fixing” our medical cannabis law a priority for the next legislative session. Which starts in January, two months after two or three other western states will most likely have legalized the herb for all responsible adults. As upwards of twenty states will continue grappling with the impossible duality of enforcing two very different laws — depending solely on whether or not a person has the means, economic and otherwise, to obtain a state-sanctioned license for medical use of the herb.
However, this by no means is a suggestion that our state needs to follow the legalization methods of Colorado, Washington or anywhere else. It will do us far more good to learn from their mistakes and implement a system which eliminates the problems their contradictory policies (like our current ones) only serve to feed. Problems that have led to the deaths of far too many Montana citizens and continue subjecting tens of thousands to cruel and unusual suffering because some of our legislators feel they have the right to play God.
Anyone who doubts that our insane drug laws are killing innocent people needs to think again. Here are just a few of the more tragic cases here in Montana over the past few years:
Scott Day died in September 2008, shortly after his home was raided by the federal drug task force:
Robin Prosser committed suicide in October 2007 because she didn’t have access to the strain of medical cannabis she used to manage her immunosuppressive illness. This is a Letter to the Editor she wrote 3 months prior to her death:
Richard Flor passed away in August 2012, while in police custody; due to serious medical neglect because the medicine he’d been using to treat his many serious ailments was scoffed at by our ‘justice’ system:
Regardless of what happens on Nov. 6th in Montana and elsewhere, the need for our state and country to address our failed drug war will only become more urgent. As illustrated by the other new documentary film by an award-winning director, “The House I Live In”; which also happens to have been produced by Brad Pitt, Danny Glover and a list of other highly respected names. Montana NORML is presently working with the film’s distributors to bring a series of screenings to the state. If you are interested in helping bring the film to your community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here’s the official trailer:
On a fundamental level, the problem is very simple: it is patently absurd to treat the same plant as “evil” or as medicine, depending upon the papers one might possess. All of our problems with drug enforcement and, consequently, with the inability to successfully combat other (real) crimes, stem from this fundamental problem; combined with the misguided notion that treating addiction like a violent crime is doing anybody any good. Which it is not, even with respect to the prison guards; unless they have already put in almost enough time to draw a decent pension. Highlighting the need for those in law enforcement and other affected industries to embrace reality and entertain serious discussions on how to go about dismantling this counterproductive, expensive and brutal war.
If our state’s and others’ citizens vote in support of people’s right to use this plant for various purposes; then, our elected officials will have an undeniable mandate to stand up and protect our freedoms against the tyranny of an unaccountable federal government. Something which we will be happily reminding them of in coming months, even if the vote somehow doesn’t come out in our favor. Because there is no longer any doubt the public favors an end to our country’s war against cannabis users and growers altogether. It is now only a matter of how…
We live in a world of increasing transparency and interconnectedness, where atrocities such as the continued persecution of Chris Williams here in Montana are receiving LOTS of public attention. Just how much attention? Enough to reportedly get a negative reaction from the judge originally scheduled to preside over his release hearing, which has since been rescheduled with a different judge on November 7th, 9:00am in Great Falls.
Supporters are encouraged to send both Judge Strong and Judge Christensen letters urging the release of Mr. Williams pending appeal. If you can be in Great Falls on the seventh, please consider respectfully showing your support at the courthouse that morning at 9:00am.
send your letters to:
The Honorable Judge R. Keith Strong
U.S District Court – Great Falls
125 Central Avenue West
Great Falls, MT 59404
FAX: (406) 727-7648
The Honorable Judge Dana Christensen
U.S. District Court – Missoula
201 E. Broadway
Missoula, MT. 59802
FAX: (406) 542-7284
More information can be found at Free Chris Williams, including a sample. It is also likely the judge’s decision could be influenced by the results of Tuesday’s vote concerning IR-124. Even if they continue keeping any discussion of state law away from the jury, they simply cannot ignore the growing dissatisfaction of the public with the continued brutalities of this failed war on personal freedom. But, this is only likely to happen if cannabis supporters all across the state make their voices heard by voting AGAINST IR-124(SB423.) And by supporting candidates who support our medical freedoms, as outlined nicely in the Montana Cannabis Voting Guide. That way we might end up with some representatives capable of implementing real, effective change in our government.
It is also important to note that the Montana Cannabis Industry Association continues waging the battle against SB423 in the courts. Successfully preventing the entire law from going into effect and completely undermining safe access by not allowing providers to be compensated for the extensive efforts of growing quality medicine. There are many other frustrating pieces of insanity built into SB423 which the courts have already allowed to go into effect, meaning a successful vote against SB423 will have great benefits for many thousands of people with serious ailments who are presently unable to obtain a state license (because the bill in question was specifically engineered to prevent people from having safe, legal access to the medicinal herb.)
On a personal note, the defeat of SB423 will mean a great deal to my future health and career goals. In part, because I intend to start recycling medical cannabis stalks into useful products and organic fertilizer once the legal industry gets back on its feet again. More details on this project will be available soon, please contact me via email@example.com if you’d like to help. The reason I need safe access to medical cannabis is simple: I have a deadly allergy to opiates and suffer from severe joint pain in my right knee, the fault of an old sports injury which resulted in the loss of most of my cartilage at the age of sixteen. My only other options are expensive, experimental pharmaceutical drugs or alcohol; both of which come with serious, even deadly side-effects.
Right now, I’m facing a felony and three years supervised probation (with loss of medical freedom if SB423 stays in place); because I failed to stop growing a personal amount of the herb last year after my card expired and the new law — plus the federal crackdown — made it impossible to find a willing doctor for many months. So, I had the pleasure of being raided by roughly half a dozen state drug task force officers; none of whom seemed particularly eager to defend their unconstitutional actions. Other than to say they were just doing their jobs, while admiring the plants and eagerly inquiring about the particular strains. The same careless sentiment being displayed across the board from government employees all over the nation.
Even I am guilty of playing along with their games, by taking a plea bargain in order to keep myself out of prison; rather than trusting my would-be jurors to know about jury nullification and exercise that right, in spite of directions from the judge which oddly seem to suggest otherwise. Perhaps this is why I feel that bringing public scrutiny to the ongoing case against Chris Williams is of such importance to the future of cannabis laws and enforcement in Montana and beyond. And why I feel it is so important for us, as responsible citizens, to voice our disapproval of SB423 at the polls.