Montana’s 62nd Legislative session provided an emotional rollercoaster for Montana’s medical cannabis patients as well as those employed in the industry formed around patients’ needs. After enduring months of being publicly labeled a “scourge”, “cartel”, and a “joke” by newly elected tea people-endorsed Republicans, those involved with medical cannabis in Montana finally received the answer they’d been waiting for. Unfortunately for them, this answer was not the answer to their prayers. Governor Schweitzer briefly explains his cannabis conundrum here. While also critical of the legislature, Schweitzer explains somewhat effectively his reasoning for allowing SB 423 to become law. The legislation, sponsored by Sen Jeff Essmann of Billings, was amended countless times and has been criticized heavily from all sides of the aisle. The prohibitionists didn’t believe it was strict enough and the patients and growers knew it was a highly regressive and repressive action, they called it the “black market” bill.
I’ve been highly pessimistic about the direction of our legislature since shortly after elections last November. After listening to campaign promises from candidates in which they vowed to create jobs and reassured us that social reforms were not a priority, it was disappointing to realize that their actions did not remotely resemble their vows. It was clear from the moment they were elected that they’d stop at nothing less than a full-out destruction of Montana’s medical cannabis industry. They refused to acknowledge science, refused to educate themselves about the substance, and just did whatever they damn well pleased. The self-righteous legislators utilized faux tears, bully tactics, inflammatory rhetoric and blatant lies in their diabolical quest to condemn a safe and effective treatment option because it didn’t quite fit into their misguided “moral” agenda.
Governor Schweitzer was the last hope for patients and growers and now that we are all aware the Governor has no plans to veto the legislation, even that hope is gone. Various rumors are circulating about the governor’s decision. One of them alleges Schweitzer is bowing to federal pressure. Such pressure didn’t seem to influence his decisions on how to handle wolves, Real ID, or other federal muscle-flexing occasions. Some believe he plans to run for Rehberg’s empty house seat in 2012 and that his decision was made solely to protect his political future. Although I suspect Schweitzer’s decision was primarily to benefit himself, I must also admit thathe did try. Negotiating with the spineless yet puritanical leadership in our current legislature is pointless. In addition to that, if he had vetoed SB 423, every marijuana-involved crime occurring between now and the 2013 legislative session would be blamed on Schweitzer. Unfair, yes; but this is politics, folks.
I’m not defending the actions of Governor Schweitzer, but he isn’t the villain here either. The GOP waged a war on medical marijuana. They were more politically astute than their opposition, better organized, far more vicious- and LOUD. After all, the tea people were supporting the repeal agenda… In fact, as we are lamenting the inevitable suffering of our patients, loved ones and ourselves, the tea people are gloating.
According to sources, the Montana GOP is also having quite a celebration tonight as they commemorate their mission accomplished. Making so many Montanans suffer and forcibly causing the unemployment of thousands must really be gratifying work. To those serving in Montana’s 62nd legislative session, may you reapeth what you sow.