I love Montana

Discussion in 'Montana Patients' started by jeffbelize, Nov 18, 2010.


    Danielsgb Well-Known Member

    Fanning the flames

    Fed busts ignite states' rights debate

    by George Ochenski

    This week gun-toting agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Department of Homeland Security raided medicinal cannabis operations across the state, and it's left tens of thousands of our citizens wondering just what the hell's going on in good old Montana. While details of why the raids were launched remain extremely sparse, a plethora of possibilities are flying around. One thing seems certain, however: such Draconian actions by the federal government will only fan the flames of the nationwide states' rights debate.
    At first glance, the statewide raids would appear to be a hard-core federal crackdown on those who are providing cannabis to patients under Montana's citizen-approved Medical Marijuana Act, which garnered 62 percent of the popular vote in 2004. But there are a couple of very serious problems with this assumption.
    Back in October 2009, President Obama announced that his administration would no longer raid growing facilities or prosecute patients in the 14 states that, at that time, had approved the use of medical cannabis. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued legal guidelines for federal attorneys accompanied by this statement: "It will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana."
    That's a pretty unambiguous directive from their boss, so why did the federal agents seemingly ignore it this week? Some speculate that the answer might lie in the timing of the raids, which just happened to occur on the very day the Senate Judiciary Committee deadlocked on a bill to repeal the state's medical marijuana law.
    But if that's the case, we have bigger problems than federal agents ignoring the wishes of the president and attorney general. Some think it's a blatant attempt to influence the outcome of state legislation.
    "Coincidence? We think not," says Tom Daubert, who was instrumental in the passage of the law and leads the pro-cannabis group Patients and Families United. "Thousands of legitimate, honorable Montana patients all over the state will now suffer unnecessarily, possibly for months on end, because the medicine that had been grown and the plants that were growing for them have now been destroyed. This massive, heavy-handed federal intrusion appears to directly contradict the Obama administration's policy on medical marijuana states' rights and to be timed and calculated deliberately to interfere with and to influence local decision-making in Montana on medical marijuana issues."
    Some, however, think the federal government may be making a statement that is much larger than just medical cannabis. Consider, for instance, the bills in the current legislature to "nullify" any number of federal laws. Or how about the bills to make firearms and ammunition manufactured and used in Montana exempt from federal firearms regulation? Is it possible that the feds, through this show of force, are letting those trying to trump federal law know that Washington will not tolerate it?
    Or, taking it up a notch, perhaps the federal government has heard all it wants to hear from Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Not long ago, Schweitzer urged citizens to take the law into their own hands and kill wolves, saying state fish and wildlife wardens would not enforce the Endangered Species Act protections. That's inciting people to break federal law, and could be prosecuted, although that would be messy. Perhaps just a little shock and awe aimed toward cannabis growers was intended to get the message across more directly.
    But the wolf issue isn't the only thing the governor has butted heads with the feds over lately. Just last month he issued an executive order banning the transportation of Yellowstone bison into Montana. The effect was to immediately shut down any possibility of trucking the animals to slaughter, thus requiring the feds to keep more than 500 bison in overcrowded pens on the park's border. Last week he suggested the "solution" to the bison problem was to "cull" bison within Yellowstone National Park—a concept that sent the new park superintendent into near convulsions as he imagined the national reaction.
    Bringing it a little closer to the bone, the federal government is none too happy about Schweitzer's possession of a list containing the real cost of prescription drugs and the outrageous markup by the private middle men that are hosing Montana's citizens and straining state budgets. Those lists are, by federal law, confidential and may not be released to the public. Yet Schweitzer has urged news agencies to "sue the state" for their release. Is Big Pharma really powerful enough to send federal law enforcement agencies out to destroy the competition from homegrown medicinals like cannabis—or try to intimidate a governor who has urged citizens to go to Canada to obtain low-cost pharmaceuticals?
    Speaking of confidential, the federal agents didn't just confiscate the plants, lights and packaged medicine from the caregivers. They also took their computers and cell phones. Montana law considers the files on medical cannabis patients confidential medical records. Yet now, the records of more than 30,000 Montanans who went through the steps to legally register with the state are in the hands of federal agents and will likely be added to federal computer files on hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Americans. They may well determine who gets to fly where, who gets searched and how often.
    There are a lot more questions than answers as Montanans react to the raids and wonder what happened to our right of privacy under the Montana Constitution—or if these are the first shots fired in a much larger states' rights civil war. Sens. Jon Tester and Max Baucus and Rep. Denny Rehberg are in positions to get us some answers, and they'd best be doing so damn quick.
    Helena's George Ochenski rattles the cage of the political establishment as a political analyst for the Independent. Contact Ochenski at [email protected]missoulanews.com.

    DaLeftHandMan Active Member

    Oi! killin me with this thread. u_u

    I lived in Montana for the first 9 years of my life, Great Falls is where i grew up. I have family that still lives in GF and Bozeman and a couple friends in Havre. I have loved that state ever since, we lived in a subdivsion called SunPrairie, about 20 minutes from the base of the Rockies. Its Gods country..big sky...*siiiiiiiiiigh* im seriously gettin all reminise-y now...lol..camping with the family, fishing for bluegill EVERY weekend with my dad on the Sun River...but yes..its very cold, and the mountains create havoc with the weather lol still, its majesty and beauty are well worth it.

    I had heard that there was some serious BS going on with MT and its cannabis situation, but hadnt gotten the low down till now. thanks Daniel.

    Danielsgb Well-Known Member

    It keeps getting deeper. It is a beautiful state.:leaf:
    Missoula Police Chief…

    Marijuana and the Democracy Disconnect
    Norm Stamper 34-year veteran police officer who retired as Seattle's chief of police in 2000

    There is always a gap between what a political system stands for and the reality of everyday life under that system. Ours is government that ostensibly stands for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A government of, by, and for the people. Yet, when it comes to marijuana, democratic principles take a back seat to fear, ignorance, and political expediency.

    Look at New York, Montana, and the federal government for recent examples of how governments ignore or actively subvert the will of the people.

    In his first run for elected office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted to smoking and enjoying marijuana. His exercise of liberty, his pursuit of happiness obviously did nothing to damage his chances for election -- any more than it hurt the presidential candidacies of Bill Clinton (and running mate, Al Gore), George Bush, or Barack Obama.

    Yet now in his third term, Mayor Bloomberg has presided over an astonishing 350,000 low-level marijuana arrests -- more than the combined total of such arrests under the Koch, Dinkins, and Giuliani administrations -- at an estimated cost of $350 million to $700 million. The human and social costs are incalculable. Almost 87 percent of arrestees are African Americans and Latinos, most are young, and most, we can extrapolate, are not wealthy.

    This, despite the fact that the New York Marijuana Reform Act of 1977 decriminalized low-level possession cases.

    In Montana, Missoula police chief Mark Muir is supporting a bill that would repeal that state's Medical Marijuana Act. Nothing wrong with a police chief taking a stand on laws that would, in his view, add to or subtract from public safety. No matter how irrational.

    But there's something terribly wrong with a chief who informs the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee that, "The idea of dispensaries in the state of Montana has got to be something we wash out of our minds."

    If Montana is experiencing problems with a delivery system that provides patients with much-needed medicine, it ought to create a sound regulatory system. But "wash [the idea] out of our minds"?

    Speaking of brainwashing, Gil Kerlikowske, my successor as police chief in Seattle, now the nation's Drug Czar, called me to task in a recent Seattle visit for my suggestion that the Office of National Drug Control Policy is as zealously committed to prosecuting the War on Drugs as the Bush administration was. Kerlikowske took pains to remind me that he ended the drug war two years ago.
    Say what?

    Since Kerlikowske "ended" the drug war, law enforcement agencies continue to pile up record or near-record numbers of marijuana arrests.

    As we, the people, make increasingly clear our intention to see marijuana legalized and regulated along the lines of alcohol, law enforcement comes down harder and harder on nonviolent, low-level offenders.

    There is hope.

    Seattle, whose voters in 2003 made minor marijuana possession cases the city's lowest enforcement priority, is one jurisdiction that gets it. The law is being respected by the local police. Seattle's city attorney, Pete Holmes, won't prosecute such cases. The chair of the city council's public safety committee, Tim Burgess (a former Seattle police officer), joined Holmes and former U. S. Attorney John McCay in Olympia this week to argue for marijuana legalization and regulation.

    And in a completely unexpected editorial, the Seattle Times, which until very recently had argued consistently against marijuana legalization, came out in support of it.

    The people of New York and Montana, and every other city and state in the union, who believe marijuana prohibition should be replaced with regulation must rise up and say no to those mayors, police chiefs, and other officials who insist on undermining the will of the people.

    Oh, and someone needs to tell the drug czar the war ain't over just because he says it is.


    samc Member

    I'm in missoula always looking to network pm me

    mtgeezer Well-Known Member

    Montana MMJ is a JOKE! Montana politicians are an even worse JOKE! The voters passed the MMJ law in 2004 and the politicians overturned it earlier this year totally ignoring the will of the people. The Attorney General of Montana is about the only discernable honest polotico here. He has been working on a law to prevent federal agencies from doing anything without the prior permission of the elected sherrif of the individual counties as specified by the U.S. Supreme Court in upholding the 10th Ammendment.

    The first thing the voters need to do here is close the loopholes that allowed these asshole politicians to throw out laws voted in by the voters just because, as one of them stated to news camera crews, "we know this isn't what the people intended". What......so now we have psychics for politicians? B.S. Close the loophole and then fire (vote out of office) these arrogant turds. Politicians work for the citizens who elected them. The same goes for county sherrifs and other law enforcement folks who just sit by and allow the feds to do their dirty work.

    Secondly, and supremely important, the subject of legal dispensaries. I do agree that there was a severe problem with the way many dispensaries did business before. This did not set well with communities and the people who live nearby. Be proactive in keeping the businesses low key. Work with communities in zoning problems and be a "good neighbor" , quit acting like the 800 pound gorilla who just moved into the neighborhood and who is going to do anything they want whenever they want. For example, a local dispensary, now shut down, was growing plants outside the building in plain view of school kids coming and going in school busses and any and all traffic on a major boulevard. ASSININE!!!!!! It's no wonder that when someone ripped off their crop one night that the local law enforcement wasn't too interested in finding the thieves.

    Along with MMJ laws comes a responsibility to your patients and your community. Also, do your best to stop any problems BEFORE they become too big to control.

    mtgeezer Well-Known Member

    I've been here for almost 17 years now, came in from Cali. I thought this place was mighty nice when I passed through in 64, maybe then it was, but now it SUCKS! The cold doesn't bother me, the people and employers do. I've been lied to or ripped off by every employer I've had here and the state labor folks won't do anything because it isn't against the law to lie to your employees. Most folks I know have the same problem but they just keep takin' it in the pooper. Folks gripe about people from out of state buying up all the real estate but it takes a Montanan to sell it to them! So many folks looking to leave it isn't funny. Ans as for the MMJ laws, forget it, the senate and congress won't leave the laws alone that the people voted in. they keep trying to gut it. As for property prices, Helena isn't any better priced than Sacramento was. Most folks can't afford to buy and rent is high to boot. Butte is cheap enough but jobs are scarce and most of the affordable homes are shacks. CYA!

    dangerlow Active Member

    Amen Brotha

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