It’s hard to argue with reality, no matter how much you’re getting paid for doing so
Last week, 4-year-old Cash Hyde died following a lengthy battle with brain cancer. He had previously sent the deadly disease into remission twice; but, after the law changed here in Montana last year, it became very difficult to procure the high-CBD cannabis oil which had helped him beat the odds in the past. As the story continues getting more and more press coverage, many have speculated that our state legislature’s regression into legal insanity was largely to blame for his death. In spite of herculean efforts from his family and legions of supporters, he had gone over two months without access to his medicine; and many more with a severely rationed supply, due to the irrational restrictions our lawmakers put on his father and “registered provider.” His remarkable legacy lives on, thanks to the Cash Hyde Foundation and their much appreciated dedication to spreading the truth about this plant’s vast medical benefits.
There is also an abundance of evidence that both our state and federal governments’ lack of respect for the medical utility of cannabis led directly to the shockingly brutal death of Richard Flor on August 30th. Less than one month after U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell had stated that Flor’s injuries were under control and that the prison facilities could manage his health requirements. Mr. Flor’s attorney and family unequivocally blame the justice system for failing to provide adequate medical care. Plans are now in motion to file suit; meanwhile, the story of his terribly inhumane suffering has been spread far and wide. Thanks to the enormous reach of drug policy reform networks, both here and abroad.
Another case here in Montana which keeps making headlines, plus helping sell lots of newspapers and online advertising dollars is the escalating public outcry for the immediate release of Montana Cannabis co-founder Chris Williams. There is way too much coverage for me to list it all here, but a quick rundown includes: two online petitions started in the last several days which have already accumulated over 18,000 and 19,000 signatures; an in-depth piece by the British newspaper the Guardian asking Will Obama’s second term see an end to the failed ‘war on drugs’?; plus multiple popular articles featured on AlterNet and Reddit. He was also featured in a recent Op/Doc video and article at the New York Times by Rebecca Richman Cohen, Director of “Code of the West”; who happens to be well on her way to funding the campaign on kickstarter.com that’s going to extend the film to include discussions of the continuing insanity we now face. For more information and the latest updates on Chris’ battle, please visit our friends at Free Chris Williams.
Montana’s legislature and our ongoing battle over basic human rights is quickly becoming an international news sensation! Whether the Milburns and Essmans of the world like it or not… A development which is also hopefully going to keep shedding more light (and funding) on the critical lawsuit still being championed by the Montana Cannabis Industry Association which has been preventing the full brunt of SB423 from taking effect since it was inexplicably allowed to become law last year.
Meanwhile, the staggering death toll from pharmaceutical concoctions is also getting lots of attention in the media; even from outfits like CNN, who apparently is still oblivious of the deep connection between the tragedy detailed below and our failed prohibition of cannabis. Which I, sadly, didn’t see mentioned anywhere in the article, video or in the thousands of comments left discussing the brutal dangers of using opiates as our primary means of serious pain relief. Leaving me to wonder if the ‘news’ organization is actively censoring their comments to prevent rational discussion of solutions, or if their dwindling number of followers are really still that ignorant of reality.
Is Obama trying to escalate this into a full-blown Civil War?
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about what’s happening here in Montana is that it’s far from an isolated case. All across the country, even in other states where their medical laws at least have some semblance of rationality, people are suffering and dying because doctors feel safer prescribing dangerous opiates than an herb which has never killed anybody. Likely because insurers are still failing to acknowledge widespread proof of the herb’s remarkable efficacy and safety profile. While alcohol producers continue funding much of the propaganda being spread across our mainstream media pretending that “stoned” drivers and people who merely use the herb for responsible recreation are an unacceptable threat to society that warrants a continuation of the policies virtually everyone agrees have failed miserably. Just like they did with alcohol, a substance proven to be far more dangerous to both the individual and society on every level imaginable.
The reality is that science doesn’t lie (most of the time) and practically all public servants have integrity. But, sadly, many of our local police departments and other civil services rely on federal tax dollars for significant portions of their funding. Something those of us who remember the days of “reasonable and prudent” speed laws here in Montana know all too well. But, do you know how much of an effect the blackmail our government pulled back then had on the speed of drivers here under the big sky? Zero. The average highway speed before, during and after our laws went back and forth stayed right at 72mph. Notably below the 75mph encouraged by a federal government who appears completely ignorant of how changing conditions here effect the safety of our highways.
While the Seattle police department has released a wildly popular guide to getting legally stoned and the governors of both the lucky states have agreed to uphold the will of the people, there are still people like Spokane’s Chief of Police Frank Straub. Who recently said this: “We’re going to have to be careful because the last thing we want to do is end up with the Spokane Police Department… sued by the federal government.” And this: “It’s going to be very difficult for the state and the city to act contrary to federal law enforcement.”
Straub’s comments seem to echo the sentiment I have personally encountered by the various people in our justice system who I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with locally. Thanks to a ‘manufacturing’ felony that I recently got handed for growing medical cannabis after the law was changed and it became virtually impossible to find a doctor or provider willing to operate in the state under our impossibly dysfunctional new law. Maybe fear has simply become their knee-jerk reaction to any conflicts with the dreaded federal bureaucracy, or maybe they’ve already gotten a memo that Obama’s administration hasn’t bothered mentioning to the press yet.
The point is, our newly re-elected leader’s inability to deal with reality has set the stage for what guarantees to be an epic showdown over state’s rights and the lack of accountability in our government. If he doesn’t wise up real quick, and maybe even take a few puffs while he ponders these most critical issues at a pivotal point in our nation’s history; then, all I can say is it’s going to be fun watching his critics destroy his already questionable reputation in the media. Not that I want to see him fail, quite the opposite; but, if he still doesn’t have the courage and fortitude to side with the overwhelming majority of the public against this bloody, unjust and fruitless war then he doesn’t deserve any respect whatsoever. Neither do the laws he keeps hiding behind, despite surely knowing how future historians will view their blatant contradictions.
Perhaps he would like to start by explain why the Controlled Substances Act clearly is intended to prevent accepted medicines from being labeled “schedule I” drugs and not the other way around; in this parallel universe, where our lawmakers have the right to tell us what we can or cannot use as medicine. Which, as anyone in Montana or anywhere else on this continent likely understands is a gross misuse of power that no government should ever employ against its sovereign citizens. Least of all a Montana legislature who had the gull to pass the now infamous “Code of the West” BILL last year alongside the garbage which has already destroyed far too many lives in this precious state of ours.
Our legislature has a unique opportunity to correct their past mistake while under the media spotlight
In the wake of the recent election, many things remain uncertain; but some interesting facts have become glaringly obvious. Here in Montana, we just elected our sitting Attorney General to the highly coveted seat of Governor; a battle he narrowly won, myself and others speculate due to his outspoken opposition to the legislative sham known as SB423. And that video of now President Obama talking about the failures of our drug war back in 2004 is not going away any faster than his record of campaigning on the promise not to “waste” taxpayer funds going after people legally using cannabis for medical reason in states where it has been legalized. If our state’s legislature continues to ignore these obvious facts and does not fix our cannabis laws properly, then our state will unfortunately remain the laughing stock and brutal tragedy of ineptitude which it is today.
So, as it turns out, we have the opportunity right now to actually start leading the way forward in meaningful drug policy reform for a worldwide audience that has every indication of continuing its exponential rise. In light of these facts, Montana NORML will be working with our many allies to compose a bill to be presented to our state representatives in hopes that they will take their responsibilities seriously and do what’s necessary to end the longest and most counterproductive war our country has ever waged. They can even do so in a fashion which President Obama may find acceptable, because it doesn’t require the “legalization” of anything.
Please note that I am not a lawyer or claim to understand all of the legal underpinnings of our state and federal governments. With that being said, here is the route that countless hours of research over the past several years has led me to conclude is the “proper” way to end our failed prohibition of cannabis in Montana and the United States of America: follow the protocol explicitly described in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) on the federal level — and our state’s echoing laws — by removing the herb from the scheduling system altogether. Give it a legal status modeled after our present dealings with alcohol and tobacco. Surely our Governor-elect (and sitting Attorney General) can work together with President Obama (who also happens to be a former Constitutional law professor at Harvard, where his fellow alumni include Rebecca Richman Cohen and the greatly respected author Lester Grinspoon) to finally put a stop to this bloody war.
Inevitably, we must address the question of how and when to tax the herb. My suggestion, which is definitely open for debate and reconsideration, begins with the belief that medicine should not be taxed. However, I also have seen first-hand the ways a system of regulations gives preferred status to those who can afford to jump through all of the necessary hoops of becoming a certified “medical marijuana” patient. Luckily, I am also well aware of the unprecedented opportunities for helping our ailing economy and environment that this humble plant offers us in this time of great need. Because I am in the midst of developing a business centered around turning medical cannabis “waste” into high-quality organic fertilizer and a myriad of products, starting with paper and canvas. Eventually it’ll be used for making clothes, automobiles, buildings and lots of other cutting-edge technological wonders.
This may sound hard for many people to believe, I know it’s personally taken me literally decades to comprehend how much of an impact this one plant can have on our society and planet. But, the potential is very real and incredibly tantalizing in the eyes of an “underemployed” mechanical engineer who would like nothing more than to someday be following in the footsteps of Henry Ford in his quest to “grow our transportation” using hemp-based technologies. Which can, thankfully, be bootstrapped with the help of necessary infrastructure my current business venture is going to provide. More details on this project will be available very soon.
If you are interested in helping us to craft the legislation outlined above and get it discussed by our state’s upcoming legislative session then please do the following: leave us a comment below or send us an email at email@example.com, include your preferred means of contact and mailing address (or just your name and legislative district, if you prefer.) Here’s a map. We are going to compile the information and begin contacting your representatives in as many of the state’s 100 districts as we can find constituents willing to put your names on “a list.” Please also include any suggestions, criticisms or whatever else you’d like to add to the discussion.
Finally, I’d just like to say thank you to everybody who continues to support this most worthy of causes. Your hard work and dedication is already helping our great state to lead the way forward through these difficult times. It may not always feel like it down in the trenches of battle, but we really are winning this bloodiest of wars. For any doubters out there, which is perfectly understandable given what our state has endured over the last year, please consider the following insightful article and countless others like it finally coming to the attention of our mainstream media and politicians struggling to comprehend the magnitude of what this humble plant actually means to the future of our society and endangered planet.