Where is the TEA party now?

My disillusionment with the local TEA party began last summer when I received the following email from Jennifer Olsen, co-founder and organizer of Montana Shrugged, a Montana tea party group.

To All Concerned Citizens,
Protect your family, act now! 

In 2004 Montana Citizens voted for the Medical Marijuana Act – Initiative 148, out of concern and compassion for those in chronic pain. The ballot stated, “For allowing the limited use of marijuana, under medicalsupervision, by patients with debilitating medical conditions to alleviate the symptoms of their conditions”.

No one could have foreseen the crisis that would ensue.

Here is our current situation:

·  89 licenses have been issued as of Monday the 3rd of May. They are receiving 3-5 new applicants a day.
·  There are no zoning regulations as to where these marijuanabusinesses can be located. That means they can be put next to schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods. For some of you your neighbors are growing pot in their house.
·  In 2008 there were 1000 registered patients, today there are over 12,000 and growing.
·  There are currently 2,797 licensed caregivers. A “caregiver” is someone 18 yrs or older and has agreed to under take the responsibility for managing the well being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana. Caregivers are not required to have training or schooling of any kind.
·  Cards are issued to minors with parental permission.
·  Our kids are getting mixed signals. We don’t want them believingmarijuana is normal. In the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuanais still a schedule 1 illegal drug. We have the right and obligation to keep it away from our children.
·  Currently,it is legal for patients to vaporize,smoke marijuana,at the facility. Since these facilities can be any where,this raises concerns about them driving afterwards and the risk to the surrounding areas i.e… schools, parks, etc.
·  Billings is now attracting medical marijuana users from other states. They are moving here because of our relaxed laws. In addition there is nothing in place to keep felons from relocating to our state and establishing businesses. Do we really want this to be our calling card?

Montanans thought we were being compassionate, instead we voted in a poorly regulated big growth industry. The regulations around this industry are really loose, and are not well enforced. We have opened the flood gate and we need to work together to close it.  

We need an immediate moratorium put on this industry for at least a year and an emergency zoning ordinance put in place. A moratorium would keep the city from issuing any new licenses and an emergency zoning ordinance would allow a 1000 ft buffer around our schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods.

What can you do?  You can make a difference, we need you. Our kids need you.

·  Email or call your council man immediately.  Let him, or her, know where you stand. Ask them to vote for a moratorium and emergencyzoning that is as strict as possible.

·  Attend the City Council meeting on Monday the 10th and let your voice be heard.  If we pack that meeting it will send a loud and clear message to the council where we stand. The meeting starts at 6:30, but please come early, seating will be limited.
·  Forward this email to everyone you know.  Give them a chance to state their opinion. 

You can find your council man’s email at the following link:


If you don’t know what ward you are in or who your council member is check this site: 


If you would like to get more involved please, don’t hesitate to email me. 

If you are unable to attend the meeting to voice your concerns for this issue please consider sending an email to the Mayor and all members of city council.

Richard McFadden McfaddenR@ci.billings.mt.us
Denis Pitman Pitmand@ci.billings.mt.us
Dick Clark twodc@bresnan.net

Ed Ulledalen edulledalen@yahoo.com
Jani McCall janimccall@msn.com
Jim Ronquillo jimronquillo@aol.com
Mark Astleastlem@ci.billings.mt.us
Vince Ruegamer vr@bresnan.net
Peggie Denney Gaghen GaghenP@ci.billings.mt.us
Angela Cimino CimminoA@ci.billings.mt.us
Mayor Tom Hanel HanelT@ci.billings.mt.us 

Thank you everyone for your support and continued stance for FREEDOM and LIBERTY.

Jennifer Olsen
Founder -Montana Shrugged, Tea Party Patriots

I was instantly irritated and responded with the following:

While you are probably well aware of my stance on this issue, I must counter your arguments.  I will admit that there IS indeed some abuse of the medical marijuana law- primarily this is because the law needs to be amended.  The law itself is far too vague- allowing people to interpret components of it as they please.  I agree with that and as a legitimate caregiver, I would prefer that the laws be more clear in order to protect us all.  Unless dispensaries ONLY sell their products to their own patients, they are operating illegally- which hurts those who are legitimate- and most of us are.  I must take issue with some of the other points though- I understand your reasoning but as someone who advocates for smaller government, it seems directly opposed to such.

·  89 licenses have been issued as of Monday the 3rd of May. They are receiving 3-5 new applicants a day.
·  There are no zoning regulations as to where these marijuana businesses can be located. That means they can be put next to schools, places of worship, parks and neighborhoods. For some of you your neighbors are growing pot in their house. Why is that our business what our neighbors are growing in their homes?  What about liberty and personal freedom?  62% of our state voted to approve this measure.  This should be considered MEDICINE.  The people I’ve encountered in this business are experts in their fields- they know their products- they can tell you exactly which strains will help every type of pain.  Do we trust the FDA and big Pharma to do a better job?  You realize they are very involved in NWO.   Since when do we prefer big government? The more regulations we have, the more government jobs, waste and expense.  I would not be entirely opposed to some sort of tax- California receives $100 million/yr on only the SALES tax of medical marijuana.
·  In 2008 there were 1000 registered patients, today there are over 12,000 and growing.  And rightfully so- although there are exceptions, these people have legitimate medical reasons for this.
·  There are currently 2,797 licensed caregivers. A “caregiver” is someone 18 yrs or older and has agreed to under take the responsibility for managing the well being of a person with respect to the medical use of marijuana. Caregivers are not required to have training or schooling of any kind. The caregivers may not be required to have training, but seriously, if they want to make any money, they have to learn much about marijuana or they will not be caregivers for long- the fact that it is available legally has reduced the street price by about half.  The illegal drug dealers are having a hard time selling their marijuana at the prices they need…. they are actually moving out of Montana- I know this for a fact.
·  Cards are issued to minors with parental permission. Kids are only allowed cards if a physician approves them for it.  Kids get prescriptions for pharmaceutical meth (adderall) like it is candy.  I have not heard of one child with a card.
·  Our kids are getting mixed signals. We don’t want them believing marijuana is normal. In the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuana is still a schedule 1 illegal drug. We have the right and obligation to keep it away from our children. The reason this is happening now is that Obama said he will defect to the states regarding medical marijuana laws.  Do you really think it should be classified as a schedule I when cocaine is a II?  While it is not possible with existing data to determine conclusively that state medical marijuana laws caused the documented declines in adolescent marijuana use, the overwhelming downward trend strongly suggests that the effect of state medical marijuana laws on teen marijuana use has been either neutral or positive.
·  Currently,it is legal for patients to vaporize,smoke marijuana,at the facility. Since these facilities can be any where,this raises concerns about them driving afterwards and the risk to the surrounding areas i.e… schools, parks, etc. Have any of us witnessed any of these people using and driving at the facility?  Just curious.  There isn’t any way to quantify (like a breath test) whether someone is impaired.
·  Billings is now attracting medical marijuana users from other states. They are moving here because of our relaxed laws. In addition there is nothing in place to keep felons from relocating to our state and establishing businesses. Do we really want this to be our calling card Of the 14 states with medical marijuana laws, ours ties for most strict.  Compare to Oregon for example:  We can possess 6 plants and 1 oz usable.  In Oregon, they can have 24 ounces usable and 24 plants.  I highly doubt any medical users are moving here because they like our laws better than the ones in their own state.  Think for a moment how much money is going into the economy- and putting illegalmarijuana dealers out of business.  A set-up with lights, ballasts, nutrients, etc STARTS at $1000 for 6 plants.    Not only that, but drug felons are NOT allowed to be caregivers, thus preventing them from setting up businesses.

When I saw Montana Shrugged’s latest video, which accuses the governor’s family of “selling marijuana” in an attempt to promote a full repeal of the law (ironically, the video makes a great case for reform instead), I began to ponder the role of the tea party in Montana politics.  I originally subscribed to the ideals that the tea party was founded upon- and actually, I still do.  There are, however; many  inconsistencies in their principles.  For instance, in general they abhor the federal government.  They constantly call for reducing its size and scope- I too would prefer that our government be far smaller than it is today.  The tea party criticizes federal intervention on any level…. unless, of course they are talking about medical cannabis.  Tea party Republican James Knox posted the following on his Facebook.
So now we have an elected representative in our state legislature PRAISING federal intervention.  This issue should not be party line.  It isn’t a republican, democrat, or tea party problem- this is something ALL Montanans and ALL Americans should condemn.  Here is an excerpt from the DOJ detailing the many federal, state, and local agencies assisting with the investigation and ensuing raids.
[T]he Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency-Criminal Investigation Division, U.S. Customs and Border Protection-Border Patrol, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These federal agencies were assisted by the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations, and local High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task forces, the Northwest Drug Task Force, the Kalispell Police Department, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula Police Department, the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office, the Missoula High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Great Falls Police Department, the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office, the Central Montana Drug Task Force, the Billings Police Department, the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office, the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Dillon Police Department, the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office, the Park County Sheriff’s Office, the Bozeman Police Department, the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office, the Missouri River Drug Task Force, the Helena Police Department, the Lewis & Clark Sheriff’s Office, and the Eastern Montana Drug Task Force – Miles City” (U.S. Department of Justice, Michael W. Cotter, United States Attorney, District of Montana,News Advisory, March 15, 2011).
Are we supposed to believe that the Environmental Protection Agency had nothing better to do than work with other redundant and unnecessary agencies to raid cannabis facilities? If these charges indeed have merit, the blame should rest upon the state for failure to prosecute caregivers who were illegally diverting product.  Also, considering the prohibitionist crowd’s biggest argument, that cannabis is a “gateway drug”, it is strange that there weren’t other more dangerous drugs discovered at any of the facilities.
The TEA party appears to only be concerned about the constitutional components that fit their agenda.  In my opinion, the TEA party movement is over.  Gone are the days of a leaderless group  influencing elected officials to spend less and reduce the size of our government.  Today we see a group of loud hypocrites eager to exploit the Constitution when they see fit.

19 thoughts on “Where is the TEA party now?

  1. Nicole – Any press is good press don’t you know?

    I never knew that YOU of all people would stoop to the way of the liberals by attacking people personally but this is what this blog has apparently turned in to. It wasn’t like that at the beginning………and that was not the purpose of why this blog was created. People that disagree with you YOU attack personally. You will probably deny that you wrote this blog and that is fine. But I recommend that you come out from behind your computer and start standing up for what you believe in without the disguise of a blog. This is ridiculous. But thanks for the press.

    Montana Shrugged since you have posted this blog has had 82 new subscribers…..we must be doing something right.

    AND…..it’s NOT a “Montana Shrugged” video. The channel belongs to me. Better luck next time.

    • Nope, you are wrong, Jennifer. I will indeed admit to writing this. I may be a republican, but when I see things going on that I don’t agree with, hell yes, I will call people out on it. If you don’t think I’ve been standing up for what I believe in, I guess you haven’t been in Helena. I could say more, but I won’t. At least I only call people out for things they actually have done instead of inventing stories about people to make them look bad. Hypocrisy is disturbing.

      Sorry to blame your video on Shrugged…. I guess I just assume that leaders of political groups align themselves with the principles of their groups. I’m not going to get into a catfight, Jennifer, but saying I am attacking people personally is pretty rich.

      You are welcome for the press though- this site must have a lot of viewers to give you 82 new subscribers. Glad I could help you with that.

  2. I’m glad to know now that this blog Is the sole opinion of the yellowstone young republicans. I always knew I didn’t want my daughter to be part of your organization even though we are all republicans. Is that why you place Jennifer and her youtube channel in a parallel with “tea party”? No matter what the issue why can’t people have their own opinion these days? She sent me this link just to keep me informed. Pretty hypocritical to claim she’s obviously posting all videos on behalf of shrugged but you are not posting on behalf of yellowstone young republicans right? Maybe I am wrong but seems the pendulum swings both ways!

    • Kristina, I can’t imagine why you have come to the illogical conclusion that this is a Yellowstone Young Republicans blog. After all, the YYRs have their own blog. Although I am a member, I’m not even an officer. I’m also a member of the PTA and several other wild organizations- shall we assume this is officially the SOLE opinion of the PTA? I think not. For one thing, I’m not the only person who writes for this blog and for another, the opinions expressed by ME are MINE. They aren’t the opinion of the YYRs nor are the opinion of Montanafesto. They are mine, expressed by ME and Montanafesto is only the vessel. I am not the founder of the YYRs and I am not an officer- why would anyone assume a post of mine was an opinion of the group? Jennifer has implied in posts on Facebook in the past that the YYRs smoke pot. I find that absurd and I don’t think that even ONE of us does. Oddly enough, there is more to this issue than meets the eye. This has little to do with smoking pot and lots to do with hypocrisy. I suggest you familiarize yourself with the situation before you go around making wild accusations.. Thanks for the morning entertainment though.

      People are more than welcome to have their own opinion, I have never criticized anyone for having an opinion or for expressing it. After all, that is why all blogs exist.

  3. (1) Marijuana dealers are selling 2/3 of their inventory out the back door, addicting our school kids and trashing our state. The STATE, not the Feds, should be cracking down on them. Unfortunately the state doesn’t have the cajones to do it.

    (2) Gov. Schweitzer is a public figure and a public servant. Because his family sells pot, he has a conflict of interest and needs to get out in front of it.

    (3) Talk to me about this again in 5 years, when all your kid wants to do is get stoned and fool around.

    • Jan, how do you know that cannabis dealers are selling 2/3 of their inventory out the back door? Do you have undercover operatives working at each facility? I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but that isn’t happening everywhere. I do agree with you that the STATE should be busting these people. They should have been from the beginning, it is ridiculous that we waited for federal intervention- if that indeed was what was happening.

      If Schweitzer was dealing with a cattle issue, would you tell him he had a conflict of interest and needed to get out in front of it? Just curious.

      As for your third point, I’m confident that my great parenting will override the temptation for my daughter to “get stoned and fool around”. After all, we can’t legislate parenting. If you’d like to bet me, I will certainly wager.

  4. My personal concern in all of this is not really relevant to the comments already posted. I will agree that the Tea Party philosophy is not being represented accurately here by Jennifer. I will also say that I’m happy to work, as Montana Oath Keepers, with Montana Shrugged, on the basis that in nearly every other plank in the Montana Shrugged platform I see true Constitutionalist positions. Jennifer, I do disagree with your take on the marijuana issue, for two Constitutional reasons.

    One, it is un-Constitutional to support any governmental claim of ownership over a citizen’s body. When government can assert control over a person’s body, that person is no longer free and is no longer enjoying the liberty which is guaranteed by the Constitution. To be free, a person must own one’s body. If government tells one what one may or may not put into one’s body, said person cannot by definition be “free”, and is no longer citizen but has instead become a “subject” of the authority imposing the restriction. There is really no argument around that one, imo.

    Secondly, however, (and this is the reason I’m posting here on this subject), we have an extremely sensitive situation brought about by the raids of March 14, 2011. This is now a Tenth Amendment issue. We have witnessed Federal intrusion into Montana business both commercially and politically. Oddly enough, the raids coincided with the Senate hearings on the attempt to repeal Montana’s initiative/referendum. (That is not at present very important, but must be remembered for a while.)

    I do not know whether the Feds invited themselves into Montana to do their “18-month investigation”, or whether County Sheriffs or anti-drug task forces, or the Attorney General, or whoever else may have sent out the invitation to the Feds – but whichever way that proves to be, we have now witnessed an unadvertised 18-months long investigation culminating in the closure of a goodly number of businesses by Federal intervention. These businesses were licensed. If they were conducting unlawful activities, the Tea Party stance on that would be that it is a State matter, not a Federal matter, and that the Feds should stay out of it. The Feds claim that Federal laws were being violated, but their statements thus far do not satisfy some basic questions. Montana says the weed is medicine, and the Federal (“General”) government opposes that. The Montana law is a direct challenge to Federal mischief, and the powers that be in Washington D.C. (and on Wall Street) have played their power card to show Montana that Federal law trumps State law.

    Because of that, I am going to drop a little hint into this post for all readers. This is from a speech prepared back in 1831 by John Calhoun, to be delivered at Fort Hill.

    “The error is in the assumption that the General Government is a party to the constitutional compact. The States, as has been shown, formed the compact, acting as sovereign and independent communities. The General Government is but its creature; and though, in reality, a government, with all the rights and authority which belong to any other government, within the orbit of its powers, it is, nevertheless, a government emanating from a compact between sovereigns, and partaking, in its nature and object, of the character of a joint commission, appointed to superintend and administer the interests in which all are jointly concerned; but having, beyond its proper sphere, no more power than if it did not exist.”

    That is the Constitutional stance, and the Tea Party stance. Because the Tea Party is opposed to structured organizational hierarchy for itself, anyone may claim to be a Tea Party person. Generally, most who join mentally and emotionally with Tea Party are sympathetic to the Tea Party message of liberty, personal responsibility, sovereignty of the individual and the State and the Nation, and adherence to Spencer’s “law of equal freedom”.
    Here is the pdf for that whole speech – it’s an awesome philosophical dissertation on the Tenth Amendment and Nullification, a gift from our past.

    Click to access The%20Fort%20Hill%20Address%20-%20A%20Speech%20on%20State%20Sovereignty%20and%20Nullification.pdf

    Because I work with Oath Keepers, my interest in this matter is related to Tenth Amendment philosophy. But I would suggest reading Tim Baldwin’s excellent article over at PolyMontana
    and giving serious thought to the logistics he spotlights.


    A falsely, unlawfully empowered central (General) government must be resisted by the States first, and as the final authority in case the States prove too weak to contain the Federal criminality, it falls to the people themselves. This is America. That is the American way. Enjoy that eloquent essay by Calhoun. And perhaps soften up your mind to be receptive to a grander scheme of things, by which we can all work together to contain the Federal insanity and Federal tyranny.

    I assure you – there is no lawful authority in the Constitution for the Federal government to be involved in any so-called “war on drugs”. The Federal government cannot lawfully own anyone’s body. That power was not listed, not enumerated, not extended to the General government, and was not forfeited by the States in compact. It is not “conservative” or “Tea Party” to use the force of government to dictate what one’s neighbor puts into his body. Ron Paul is very clear on this, as you can see by reading his book, “The Revolution: A Manifesto”.

    A point to add as the kicker is that the Amendment says “to the States, or to the People”. It does not say “and” to the People. It says “or” to the People. Big difference! 😉

    The Constitution’s most authoritative and legitimate overseer is the body of we the People. We govern ourselves in our personal lives, in our sovereign States, and through the States we extend governance powers, certain and enumerated ones, to the General government which binds the Union. When all else fails, our founding documents tell us exactly what we are to do and provides the lawful remedy.

    Oath Keepers is working to ensure that that remedy remains non-violent and emanates from education instead of through force. Oath Keepers supports the Tea Party philosophy. Again, read Calhoun’s essay and smell the freedom.

    Elias Alias, Montana Oath Keepers

    • AMEN!!!! This is what I’m talking about. We should be banding together regardless of how we feel about medical cannabis and rising up against tyranny. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to hear another group who sees things the way I do. Thank you!

    • WOW! Wisdom from a Teabagger! You have spelled out pretty clearly why Willie’s Tea Pot Party is the closest to the Tea Party I will ever get. I really thought we were on to something but then the Republican Overlords and the Televangelists took over and screwed the whole thing up. I am running as a Democrat because I truly believe it’s the only Party we have ANY chance of using to accomplish anything good. I was a Libertarian and Green Party member for a while but without the power of a major party nothing will be accomplished. I pretty much agree with Sam Clemens though-I don’t really want to belong to ANY group that would accept me as a member!

  5. You’re welcome. You made a very intelligently constructed article. I found your blog while looking for something else, and I may not be back around, but I did subscribe to this thread because of the great divisiveness the marijuana issue holds for Patriots – the camp is fairly split down the middle on this issue. What I ask of the anti-marijuana people is to consider that if we let the Feds get away with this one, there is absolutely no reason to think that the Feds won’t come for our guns next. The States must stand up and resist Federal tyranny. And the States won’t do it unless the people demand they do. I regret discovering this session how many “squishy” RINO Republicans are still seated in Helena – I was hopeful that the Tea Party would have a better influence on this session, but the incumbent RINOs seem to remain in control of the right side of the aisle. They do so because they’ve been brainwashed by decades of dedicated government propaganda which seeks to demonize marijuana, and those many who would vote against the people’s right to ingest what they choose are the true believers who never even bothered to experiment with pot to see for themselves that the Federal government is lying about marijuana. Odd, that; but it’s the way people are. Still, they really must come to their senses and realize that the war on drugs has destroyed countless millions of American lives (700,000 or more per year for more than twenty years now), ruined college careers, workplace careers, families, and entire communities – and they must come to see the folly and danger in supporting this insane war on drugs. It’s just flat out un-Constitutional.
    Anyway, keep up the good work. Thanks for the venue.

  6. Can’t anybody have an independent view of anything political? I thought that is what made politics in America so great. People can think for themselves and have their own opinion without being vilified. I guess maybe I’m wrong in today’s politics. I have met with and talked to Jennifer on the last couple ‘tax day tea parties’ in Billings and she is friends with my niece and I think that it is NOT the opinion of the ‘tea party’ but that of herself. I think that she has a first amendment right to have and voice her own opinion. Why is it that only you can have a opinion and feel the need to personally attack people? Just thought I’d throw that out there.

    • Actually, “Scott”, this is my blog. I can, along with the other montanafesto bloggers, “personally attack” anyone I choose. I’ve never had problems with anyone exercising their first amendment rights, so I find that to be a bizarre criticism. Responses to your queries/concerns, 1. Of course you can. 2. Nobody ever accused American politics of being “great”. 3. Nobody at this blog has vilified you or anyone else- statements like that are irresponsible and divisive. 4. I don’t care if you are friends with Jennifer- at one time, I was too. You can assume all you want that her opinions were PERSONAL and NOT of the ‘tea party’, but she sent me the email as Montana Shrugged- not as Jennifer. 5. I agree she has a first amendment right, with rights come responsibilities, however. One must be willing to defend their words. 6. Like I said earlier, I’m not the only one allowed an opinion and because I disagree with someone does not mean I’m attacking them. You may want to lay off that victim mentality, attempts to mask your identity are failing.

    • When you are the founder of an organization and you send a mass email to your membership list from “Montana Shrugged”, most people would assume you are representing the organization as opposed to yourself. Our first amendment rights don’t necessarily protect us from consequences as a result of using the right. Those who profess to be constitutional should really brush up on the Constitution. The TEA party movement has been hijacked locally by ego-maniacal hypocrites. Your comment is asinine, sorry to inform you.

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