UPDATE: Zabawa’s testimony on SB 423 today can be viewed here. This morning another of our bloggers received a Facebook friend request from “Mercedes Benz- Billings”, an auto dealership in part owned by one of our favorite prohibitionists, Brother Steve Zabawa. A source within one of Zabawa’s businesses confirmed that the Facebook page indeed belonged to Zabawa so she sent a…. factually scathing message in response to the request. After I posted her words to Zabawa on our blog’s Facebook page earlier today, she posted a comment clarifying the post. She said that she’d received a polite response from the dealership, from a “product specialist” who claimed to monitor the page. Although making it clear he understood his employer’s motivations and respected his right to express his opinions, he assured her that not everyone within the dealership was aligned with Zabawa’s agenda. Because the friend request apparently did not originate with Steve Zabawa, I pondered whether or not he’d ever see her words. After much (not really) thought, in the case that Zabawa was indeed shielded from the criticism, I took the liberty of posting it here, utilizing , in vain, our public forum in hopes that Zabawa would notice, take heed, and engage his opponents in a productive discussion. While the letter was written to Zabawa, the intended target could have been nearly any Republican currently serving in our state legislature as well. I challenge any puritanical republican to address the concerns mentioned in the following letter:
Considering your opposition to personal liberties, obsession with control and devotion to driving the legislative process in the opposite direction voters desire, I am puzzled by your motives in requesting my friendship.
It appears a vast majority of your Facebook friends are politically active Republicans, so initially I assumed you were innocently seeking more local political connections, but I suspect your request isn’t so innocent. Do your liberty-minded Republican friends support your determined effort to not only overturn legislation created and approved by our state’s voters, but force seriously ill Montanans to make the unfathomable choice to either participate in a crime or needlessly suffer from a debilitating condition? You may be surprised.
Whether you are aware or not, I have defended your organization in public forums on countless occasions- primarily on principle as I believe each party involved in a conflict deserves an opportunity to dispel false accusations. Isn’t that odd? Although I do not know you personally and generally am opposed to the sort of licentious behavior of which your establishment is regularly accused, I am a principled and honorable human being, always willing to participate in open and honest discussion- which is where you and I obviously differ.
What I find most astounding about your group’s opposition to the creation of a regulated industry is your continual refusal to participate in any sort of pro-active conflict resolution discussion. Although many consider you and the other group members to be truly moronic, I disagree. Your recurrent fallacious testimony quickly elucidates any possibility of a naive ignorance.
I will overlook your unwillingness to acknowledge science and patient testimonials for a moment to examine political principles. Republicans fight for smaller government, a free market, retaining more of what we make, and especially liberty. Although I’m not a cannabis user, I appreciate the freedom to choose, with my physician, alternative forms of treating illnesses. Our federal government runs Amtrak, the US Postal Service, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid…. the list of insolvent entities goes on and on. The FDA has approved a litany of drugs that kill Americans on a daily basis, but yet so many are comforted by the federal government’s approval or disapproval of substances. It is astounding that any intelligent American would appreciate federal intervention in any manner beyond the power granted by our Constitution.
Liberty is integral to being an American and especially so to many Montanans. Our voters approved the use of this substance and overturning their wishes is truly reprehensible. If this truly “isn’t what Montanans voted for”, those citizens would place reform or repeal on the ballot. To date, no one has successfully done so, so I adhere to the belief that what we have now, however flawed it may be, is closer to voters’ intentions than an outright repeal.
In testimony of marijuana opponents, I hear of frequent abuses of the current statutes, exploitation of patients in pursuit of profits, use in schools, illegal diversion of medical cannabis, the list is endless. What I fail to understand is why those perpetrators are not as a result, arrested. The industry begged regulation and especially for enforcement. Three previous legislative sessions failed to address the concerns and the “frequent abuses” have apparently gone unpunished. Patients who legitimately, effectively, and safely treat their conditions with cannabis are instead the targets of your mission.
Laws aren’t created to provide a substitute for competent parenting and historically prohibition primarily benefits criminals. Actual drug dealers, the predatory sort, not the state-licensed law-abiding providers you are complaining about today, will return to their profitable businesses- without paying taxes, hiring employees, or adhering to any sort of ethical protocol. The dangers to our communities and kids presented by prescription drug and alcohol abuse far surpass those created by allowing legal medical use of cannabis. For this reason, I’m shocked you would continue this obsession while ignoring the most dire dangers facing our state.
We owe our children more than the false “safety” that destroying an industry may provide. We owe them the truth. The truth is, overturning a citizens initiative is an assault on our Constitution and rights. The topic itself, however discomforting you consider it, should not determine that the right of the people to self-govern is void. Montana’s constitution does not define the right to citizens initiative to be inclusive of only what is palatable to the elected.
Montana voters spoke. The governing body has now decided to use the power of position to arrogate. This is a wrongful use of power and is symbolic of the underlining reason the people’s distrust of all things government has become so palpable.
Perhaps your understanding of the long-term repercussions of such action would require a personal stake in it. For your sake, I truly hope that you and your loved ones are never presented with as dire of consequences as you are seeking for Montana’s infirm.
Upon receiving this message, should you decide to address my concerns, I will accept your offer of friendship. You and I won’t necessarily ever agree on this particular issue, but we likely would on virtually all others. I hope, through not only education but by setting a positive example, that someday the vast conflict surrounding this particular substance is reduced substantially.