Editor’s note: This post was written by Elizabeth Pincolini of New Frontier Patient Care. With the exception of her use of the word “democracy” , we enthusiastically endorse her message. We will save the discussion of the evils of democracy for a later date.
Democracy is under attack in Montana and we need everyone’s help to stop it!
This year in Montana, for the first time in our state’s history, our state legislature voted to overturn a voter Initiative. Int. 148 was voted in 2004 with 62% of voters voting for it. Keep in mind 62% is approximately 270,000 votes, in a state with less than 1 million people. That is a significant achievement and a true example of democracy and the will of the people at work!
Do you believe in the democratic process? Do you believe your state legislature has the right to supersede the will, intention and votes of the people in your state or any other? How do you feel about personal choice? Or the right to privacy? Do you believe people should be free to live their lives free from government intrusion?
Will any of those beliefs change when I tell you Int. 148 was Montana’s Medical Marijuana Act?
Our law was attacked by outside special interest groups based out of California. Politically timed federal raids, suspiciously coinciding with legislative votes, were deployed. Our state law was under attack and our legislators were helping to lead the charge. Senators and their wives, as well as State Representatives, chaired and ran this group that was opposing our rights and our votes. Their connections allowed them what seemed like unlimited access to lobby throughout the capital all session, without the constraints and the rules and processes the “regular” lobbyists needed to follow.
While our governor vetoed an outright repeal bill, we were left with a law that would essentially leave legitimate patients without safe access to their medicine, or even to a doctor’s recommendation. A bill that make providers provide medical cannabis for free, for no more than 3 people, after they are made to identify themselves to the FEDERAL Government as a provider, via fingerprint and background check submitted to the FBI. ( Yes, you read that correctly – to provide free medical cannabis in Montana you would need to tell the FEDERAL government you will be doing so)
(The full version of SB423 can be read here http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2011/BillPdf/SB0423.pdf )
To help fight this horrible legislation and the blatant attack on Montana’s democratic process, the Montana Cannabis Industry Association emerged. http://www.mtcia.org/
This is a grassroots organization fighting for the rights of patients, providers and voters across the state. The battle will now be waged in the courts and through a voter referendum signature-gathering petition. This is once again, the will of the people at work, trying valiantly to preserve “…by the people, for the people…”
It is for this reason I am writing. We urgently need financial backing from all supporters of democracy.
Even if you do not live in Montana, the outcome of this battle may very well affect your state laws.
If we are defeated in our attempts to stop the overturning of a law the PEOPLE saw fit to put into place for themselves, it opens the door for this assault on state’s rights to be waged in your state as well.
This battle is not just about medical cannabis and a patient’s right to choose what they put into their own bodies. It is about democracy. It is about the will of the PEOPLE to make their own laws in the states in which they live. It is about stopping those in Legislative power from changing the will and intent of the people in favor of their own personal beliefs or those of special interest groups. It is about taking back our rights as individuals and as Americans.
Whether you live in Montana or elsewhere, please consider going to http://www.mtcia.org/ and donating. Help take a stand for democracy, personal freedom, personal choice, and the right of the people to enact their own laws and govern themselves.