Dear Montana State Senators and Representatives,
I urge you all to oppose SB 423.
Essmann’s SB 423 is anti-patient.
The legislation repeals Montana’s medical cannabis law while masquerading as an innocent and necessary reformation bill. While Montanans may not have intended for the law to create a thriving industry, they did not intend for the law to be overturned in a political move by the majority party either. This legislation will eliminate legal access to a safe and effective substance for many Montanans and endangers access for the remainder. Patients also are forced to choose only one method of ingestion- smoking/vaporizing or edible products. We are a patient-driven industry- each patient has a different symptom or type of pain. At different times of the day, different effects are desired, eliminating their right to use cannabis as needed is cruel. SB 423 harms the very people that the law was initially created to benefit.
Essmann’s SB 423 is anti-jobs.
Regardless of whether or not you personally approve of the use and/or cultivation of medical cannabis, an industry has grown around a need. This industry employs thousands of formerly unemployed Montanans- not only the approximately 5000 state-licensed caregivers but many carpenters, contractors, electricians, as well as employees of gardening supply shops, hardware stores, and security firms. It is irresponsible, arrogant and downright malicious to destroy an entire industry based on your personal idea of morality.
Essman’s SB 423 is anti-capitalism.
The party of smaller government and free markets is proposing regulations that drastically limit patients’ access to cannabis on every level. No longer will patients have access to a variety of strains, in fact; most patients will no longer have a caregiver at all. Because caregivers are limited to a maximum of 3 patients, most patients will be losing theirs July 1, 2011. Patients in many cases are too ill or otherwise unequipped to cultivate their own medicine. By essentially forcing them to either grow their own or locate someone lacking experience but willing to do so for them, they are at high risk of being unable to treat their symptoms. Growing cannabis isn’t like growing a philodendron. It has very specific requirements, and deviation from a standard of care provided by an experienced grower has a high potential for disaster (fertilization, infestation, fungus, etc) In addition to the strict patient limits, the caregiver not only cannot profit from providing the service and product to their patients, they must operate at a loss as growers cannot even receive reimbursement for the expenses related to growing the plants. Electricity, nutrients, seeds, soil or other media, pots, ventilation, CO2…. the expenses are significant as is the level of attention required to successfully cultivate medical grade cannabis.
When a ruling class of intellectuals, bureaucrats and social planners (yes, that would be YOU) decide what people the want or what is good for society and then use the coercive power of the State to regulate, tax, and redistribute the wealth of those who work for a living, controlling both the supply and the demand side of industry…. sounds a lot like socialism to me.
Essmann’s SB 423 is hypocritical.
When it comes to wolves, firearms, Real ID, or Obamacare, our party is eager to assert our tenth amendment rights but in discussion of cannabis, we conveniently and selectively use the federal ban of schedule I substances to comply with our “moral” agenda. I think we all know that the constitution does not give the federal government the right to impose such bans- after all, prohibiting the use of alcohol required a constitutional amendment, why is cannabis any different? You either want smaller government or you do not. You cannot have it both ways.
What do I know? I’m just a lowly Republican cannabis caregiver. I haven’t a clue of the demands required of serving in the state legislature, so consider this. How would you feel if suddenly the cannabis industry was in charge of creating the rules and regulations of the Montana’s legislative branch? Instead of educating ourselves on the legislative process, we chose our own path, an ignorant course with little regard for the individuals affected by our decisions. When you tried to voice your opinions about our agenda, we either ignored you entirely or patronized you publicly. We called you, your colleagues and staffers derogatory names and made sweeping judgments on your character and sanity.
In the words of Rep Rob Cook (R-Conrad) “I’m going to ask that we take a minute here, to reflect on our own hypocrisy.”
Thanks to each of you for the sacrifice of serving in our legislature. I would appreciate a “no” vote on this legislation. Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.