Archive for July, 2011


I sincerely believe that. It sickens me every time I see a charge – and hear of one of my friends, fellow patients, or a provider out there anywhere getting raided or charged.

I may not know the specifics of each case, and actually each case I read, I have a critical eye to it – as the media is always looking for fanfare. Looking for a criminal to have guilty before they even get to court.

Personal suffering and tragedy sells newspapers now doesn’t it?

They simply don’t see the caregivers and growers as I do. I cannot put them in the criminal category because to me, they are a Farmer. They garden a plant. They suffer pests. They suffer crop failure. They suffer the same trials and tribulations the farmers we see every day in Montana do.

Big difference is in harvest. After a Montana Cannabis Farmer harvests their crop they get to see the up close, personal results of their work. They get to see how they help people. They get to see folks get better, function better, and free themselves from the chemicals.

They get to see folks get their lives back and thrive.

It is so VERY rewarding for folks.

That world is gone now in Montana. At least for the time being.

Personally, on July 1 when I woke up, I woke up in tears. Sobbing tears. Uncontrollable. Wrenching.

The wait was over – and our destiny was upon us. DOOM is a better word for how I felt that morning….

Montana medical cannabis patients and caregivers across the state woke that day to a virtual wasteland. A comparison I use frequently is this:

The innocent little bunny (Montana patients and caregivers) was nibbling some greens in the forest when WHAM – the nuclear bomb of SB423 hit. As the little bunny came to and looked around, the forest was gone. It was a wasteland. Life as the bunny knew it was upside down completely…..

The wasteland this little bunny saw that morning was horrifying.

Judge Reynolds ruling came late in the day on June 30 – almost 5pm. Little room left in the day to get interpretation done, and the news out. Caregivers across the state destroyed plants to attempt to stay in compliance. What defined compliance?

Over 30,000 Montana medical cannabis patients have no access to medical cannabis now. Not legally anyway. We were all forced to the black market on July 1, 2011. The relationships we had developed with people who genuinely cared for us was separated overnight – and folks were reeling. Still are. The paperwork is in action to get everybody tied up and linked again….connected. DPHHS was flooded with calls and questions.

The devastation this bunny saw was the Montana medical cannabis community – and across the wasteland lay the patients. Strewn about and lost.

Caregivers are strewn across that wasteland too. There are folks out there I know who put their entire life savings into their business. They took out mortgages on their homes. Gave it the 200% treatment to do the best for their clients. They had faith in Montana – and it’s people and beliefs. Proud Montanans were slaughtered that day….their livelihoods gone. The blood from the loss will be strewn for years I think.

With the new law – many folks are quitting. Patients are giving up cards and going back to the black market. Caregivers are quitting and looking for other options to survive. The threat of Federal intervention is just too much for some.

Who can blame them? Many of the folks are sick themselves. It’s safer to be a patient in today’s world in Montana – until we get our law back anyways……

We WILL get our law back folks.

When we do – we will have to remain low key – and remember we are under the Ogden memo now. We have to always remember they are MEMOS – and can be withdrawn….and that is exactly what happened to the Holder memo. GONE. Gone is the semblance of protection we all so foolishly counted on….relied on….for protection.

So much for that idea……

I also noted a shift in the environment when I got back. Something wasn’t quite right – there was a shift somewhere. I had been gone for three weeks in Colorado – working with Irvin Rosenfeld and launching Colorado Connect. I expected to be excited and relieved to get back to Montana. I wasn’t…..the tone had changed.

I had spoke with a leader of a group in the state this day – working on events. They had asked what Irv’s schedule was – and if he would be available for an event on the same day Irvin and I are both scheduled to speak in West Palm Beach FL. I told them No – Irvin was booked – but I had a better idea.

George McMahon is another of the Federal patients. A good ol boy from Iowa with a serious disorder, and a daughter with the exact same condition he has. A daughter who is a Montana resident – and has no access now. As she lives in Billings – she may not have access in the future. I gave the contact info – and hoped to see it transpire.

On Saturday – I got a message from George’s daughter. They had been contacted by the group and had started to make plans, but when George found out it was a legalization effort – he refused to come.

What in the HELL?!?!

When I left – we were all focused on a medical bill – when I came back – legalization was the slant?

That was a stunner…..especially after the last session. With what I had witnessed on the hill I just don’t understand how anybody in Montana would even DREAM of a politician in this state embracing a legalization bill. I was up there – I witnessed the prohibition. They slammed doors in the Federal Patients face. As a matter of fact – it was Chas Vincent – when we wanted to talk to him about SB423…the day before Irvin left in March.

Right here, right now, I am going to lie down my views on legalization vs decriminalization and I would HOPE folks would respond and comment. I know many of you may not agree with my views – and that’s ok. You are entitled to yours as well, whether I like them or not. Let’s just generate some dialogue….so we can have a better understanding.

I am a decriminalization girl. Now….don’t get me wrong. The day we ever free this wonderful plant and it is legal – that will incite the MOTHER of Snoopy dances in me – in a HUGE  garden of Cannabis. The injustices to Cannabis over the past 80+ years is a crime.

It is also a huge dilemma to be unraveled. We have to stop putting people in jail before we can just open the floodgates and turn everybody loose.

It makes me knot up and sick inside – knowing all the folks that are in prison over such a harmless plant. A victimless crime – cannabis. I believe that.

Here’s the big problem though.

Law enforcement and the prison system.

We have to decriminalize and stop putting people in prison. Slow down their money flow – change up the way they attain their funding – and for what. Right now – they are so hugely funded by drug war monies – no politician anywhere will ever embrace a legalization effort. It would be an opening of floodgates.  It would take the justice system out at the knees. It would be political suicide.

I mean think about it. How do you legalize a schedule I drug? How do you take that legalization and work it into your system as you know it? Believing we can legalize and just open the doors to our prisons and “turn em all loose” is a pipe dream.

There is no way we could leave them there if we legalized either. I couldn’t stand for it.

The folks would HAVE to be freed. Personally I dream of the day – but have to think logically here.

Reality is a bitch.

See the problem?

If we decriminalize….it slows the flow into the prison system.  Crime rates drop – which in turn forces law enforcement to seek alternate funding sources. If crime rates are up – they get more money.

I wish we could turn all the cannabis prisoners free with a legalization effort – but I just don’t see it happening. If somebody else has another idea or vision – please feel free to comment.

I look forward to a solution.

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First – a message from Irvin Rosenfeld. To quote:

To all my friends in Montana:
Didn’t you learn anything from what just took place in your state?
70%-80% of the people in the United States are in favor of Medical use of Cannabis and you still almost lost your law.
40%-55% are in favor of legalization of Marijuana.
Protect what you already have.
Our president is changing his stance and not living up to what he promised. What happens if he loses in 2012 and we have a total backlash against all use of Cannabis, even medical?
I have been around this issue for 40 years. In my opinion, talk of legalization and support of the social culture is only going to keep hurting the Medical use as the country is starting to lean the other way. It is too easy for our opposition to hold up an ad telling people how to pass a piss test and say “This is what legalization causes.”
Decrim is one thing, trying to shove legalization in the face of our opposition without a decrim law makes no sense.
While legalization would allow all patients to have their medicine, as a nation we are not there yet, however
Patients are Out of Time.
signed,
Irvin Rosenfeld, the longest surviving Federal Cannabis Patient and an adopted Montanan.
The woodpecker to me is the legalization effort and “Culture Club” effect on the Medical Cannabis ship – and in my opinion it’s gonna SINK if it keeps up.
I have always agreed with Irvin on this view.
One thing folks seem to forget, as we get so casual in our Medical Cannabis,
THIS IS STILL A SCHEDULE I DRUG!
Until it is re-scheduled – we have NO business stumping for legalization. It’s just TOO much for the general population to absorb. Re-scheduling should be the focused effort – and decriminalization.
The Federal Government has reversed its stance. Barack Obama has backed up a step or TEN – and the idea of the Holder memo protection is hereby GONE.
Many of the previous Caregivers I have been in touch with will NOT re-register to become a Provider under the new law. I can’t really blame them for that…..as all of their information will be handed to law enforcement on October 1, 2011 under the new law. Unless we get all of our signatures of course. Until then – times are frightening. After the past legislative session it is QUITE apparent that law enforcement is NOT on our side.
Quite the opposite in my opinion. We are viewed as potheads and criminals.
So….as of July 1, 2011 – we have the Judges ruling – and the referendum is under way.
We also have a SERIOUS lack of providers – and 30,000 patients out there – with no provider to care for them.
I have come up with a solution to help folks – as I feel I am in a position to do it.
First – I have NEVER been a caregiver – EVER. I respect the HELL out of the brave souls and warriors – but it was never my place – not my niche in this industry.
I consider it my job to attempt to protect – and promote Caregivers. Right now – PROTECTION is the priority – and safe patient access.
I am also in a position NO OTHER magazine in Montana can be in. Not just a Trade publication – but my NOT caregiving makes me NO competition for ANY of you. The other 2 magazines in Montana are not only Culture magazines – but they are owned and/or managed by Caregivers.
Now – this is not said to imply any foul play – just the facts. They simply cannot offer what I am about to offer – as the Feds could come and get THEM at any time they saw fit. All of their records would be exposed to the Federal Govt if they came and got the other caregiver magazine owners.
As I have NEVER been a caregiver – there are no records to go after retroactively. They have NO reason to even come and get me. I own a MAGAZINE and I am a patient – and under the new law, as I have declared a provider – I don’t even grow.
Here is what Montana Connect can do for YOU Caregivers – to add an extra layer to attempt protect you from this heinous bill in heinous times.
I will offer this to my advertisers – an extra layer of protection for the same price. You can still post an ad – and promote yourselves (most likely sans garden names) and on said ad – will be a contact code for the patient to use. They will contact ME via cell or internet – and I can pre-qualify patients – and direct them to you folks. This gives you a buffer – and I can screen folks. If it’s a sketchy call or law enforcement – I can help weed them out – and attempt to PROTECT caregivers without any of you being under threat of the Feds finding locations and coming after folks. They have made their intent known.
Without the Caregivers (or Providers – under SB423) – the patients have nothing.
We must work to protect and help all.
If you have a better idea – fly it by me. Anything to help.
In addition – patients have responded very positively to Montana Connect – and have loved the content and educational aspect. Montana Connect will continue to ALWAYS have 60% content vs 40% advertising.  I will NEVER sacrifice that.
Another thing we are doing here is building a strong medical community – where we can share science and stories – conduct peer review. Bring credibility and Integrity to medical cannabis – it is desperately needed.
I wish I could tempt folks with deeply cut advertising rates for attending events, or sponsorship of a group, but I simply cannot. If I were to do that – Montana Connect would become all ads – and no content. I cannot do that with my publication – will NEVER do that. The ad rates are structured to support the content.
I’m here for you folks – and I believe you will see from my history that I have never wanted anything more than to help folks and promote this industry I love. I have paid dearly for that since legislative session started – as I gave up my garden to stay on the hill – and by the time we needed to print again – SB423 had essentially put the brakes on EVERYTHING.
So folks – I am asking for your support – and in turn – I will do anything and EVERYTHING to support and help all of you.
Patients – if you love Montana Connect – encourage others to read and subscribe. Give copies to your providers.
Providers – even if you don’t need new patients now – help provide a voice. Keep Montana Connect out there – and have a voice yourself! Ads don’t have to promote your business – you can state opinion too. Within reason of course – we can’t be libelous or anything…..
Another advantage Montana Connect has over all other publications is feedback, stories, and guidance from Irvin Rosenfeld, the longest surviving Federal Medical Cannabis Patient. Irvin has been involved in the movement for 40+ years – and has a wealth of knowledge to share. He also lends quite a bit of credibility to our cause.
NO other publications have that.
I look forward to your response to this – and hope to have an issue out mid-August. I have ALL of my livlihood tied into this magazine – and I am not financed by out of state money.
It’s me….and I am here to help you as much as I can – in any way I can.
You matter to me……and it’s much more than dollars and cents.
Let’s build this folks…….Mike and Cashy Hyde are on the cover of the next issue. Let’s get it OUT there!
Call me at 406-594-7932 for ad rates or e-mail me at montanaconnect@gmail.com
I look forward to hearing from you!
Walk PROUD Warriors!
Hiedi