After an impressively long silence on marijuana policy, President Obama finally explained that the federal government has better things to do than contradict the will of voters in a couple of western states. If we are to take him at his word, this means the federal government will not be raiding businesses and people’s houses all over Washington and Colorado. Yet, the citizens of Montana still have no safe access and lawful providers like Chris Williams are still being prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Meanwhile, in California:
“I hope the President will show the same regard for medical cannabis patients that he has extended to recreational users of cannabis, and stop the ongoing federal campaign to close state-legal medical cannabis providers.” – Steve DeAngelo, Executive Director of Harborside Health Center, in response to comments about state cannabis laws made by President Obama to ABC News, on air tonight with Barbara Walters…
..”In the past year, U.S. attorneys have forced the closure of over 600 medical cannabis dispensaries in California, and over 1000 nationwide. Harborside Health Center, the most reputable and legally compliant dispensary in California, will be in court December 20, to defend ourselves against federal efforts to close our doors forever…”
Up here in Montana, we’ve also got numerous court cases unfolding around our currently unworkable marijuana policy. Most notably, the injunction which is being held in place by a lawsuit from the Montana Cannabis Industry Association(MTCIA.) That case was back in court last week, with the District Judge expected to give a final ruling in “days or weeks.” Until then, the law remains partially in place like it has been all along. The lawsuit has a good shot at winning, but is also in very real danger of going away if the remaining balance owed to the law firm isn’t paid soon. If you are concerned about the future of medical cannabis in Montana, donating to the MTCIA’s legal fund is a great way to help improve safe access for those who need the herb most.
Of course, the law as it is currently being implemented is very far from perfect; but, nowhere nearly as bad as full implementation of SB423 would surely be. Luckily, we also have an upcoming legislative session where a three-pronged approach to improving our current marijuana law is now under way. However, the only way any of these efforts will be successful is if enough Montana citizens write a brief letter to their elected state representative. A list of whom can be found here:
There is no need to write anything long or overly formal, but showing your representative a good amount of respect increases the likelihood they will return the favor. What I’m, personally, going to say begins with the president’s remarks about having more important things to do than worry about recreational users in states where it’s been legalized. Right now, our government is spending way too much time and money dictating who can use this herb for what purpose. Cannabis has now been shown to shrink cancerous tumors; meanwhile, people are dropping like flies from prescription drug and alcohol abuse. Our prisons are so overburdened with housing non-violent drug ‘offenders’, that we no longer have the resources available to properly investigate murders or keep rapists behind bars for anywhere close to the mandatory minimums often attached to drug charges…
These are all points I plan on briefly addressing, but my strongest argument in favor of reforming the state’s marijuana law is far more personal. If you happen to be reading this little blog post, then I’m guessing you have a personal stake in this battle for medical (and spiritual) freedom as well. If you can connect to the lawmaker (or member of their staff) on a personal level, it’s far more persuasive than statistics or slogans. So, briefly state your opinion and kindly ask them to consider becoming a co-sponsor of one of the three different bills now in the works.
In conclusion, I will be mentioning that Montana NORML is presently working with producers of the film “The House I Live In”; in order to bring screenings and panel discussions of the film and drug policy reform to Montana early next year. We are looking to set up diverse panel discussions, including people from all sides of these important debates. Thanks to all of the recent media attention on this subject, and specifically to political prisoner Chris Williams along with everybody who’s supporting the update of Code of the West; now our state legislators have a rare opportunity to prove their competence by giving our state a workable marijuana law in 2013. Or face the specter of more lawsuits and greater scrutiny of their already questionable actions.
If you are interested in helping to fix our state law then MT NORML needs your help to educate our lawmakers and fellow citizens. Whether that means being in a panel, hosting a screening at your local library, or donating money for advertising and supplies is entirely up to you. And if your representative happens to send you a reply, we’d be most interested to see what they say and repost it with your permission.
On Tuesday, Dec. 18th; Montana NORML is having a meeting at the Missoula Public Library at 7p.m.
Located in the large meeting room downstairs, the meeting is open to everyone and will center around the upcoming legislative session plus the movie screenings. If you are unable to attend, please send us an e-mail at email@example.com telling us where and what you’re interested in doing. If you’re not sure, that’s fine too. Thanks to all of our dedicated supporters, cannabis law reform is far from dead here under the big sky.
Onwards!Justin Michels Montana NORML, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org (406)531-3618