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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Comments
  1. What legalization group or effort are you referring to?

    What are the policy implications/definition of decriminalization?

  2. I will address the decriminalization question tonight – when things quiet down.

    As far as naming names and pointing fingers in a public forum….not how I roll. If the individual who was part of this reads this – they will know who they are.

    I really hate having my pants pulled down in front of Federal Patients – and that situation could have damaged my credibility with George. Glad it didn’t…..it will never happen again either.

  3. danielsgb says:

    I’ve been thinking about this today. I guess I have a few points.
    1. Politicians have proven to ignore reason. Doing the right thing requires a vote of the people. Lobbyists buy the elected officials. So I don’t see how de-criminalization can work. Unless there could be an initiative to changed criminal to civil.
    2. Hemp needs to be freed. Not sure how that can happen without full legalization.
    3. Whatever we do I think it needs to include possession of the genetics for any strain protected. Somehow there has to be a way for a grower to ‘patent’, ‘trademark’, or hold ‘cultivar rights’.
    That is even more important for the 2013 legislature and Medical Cannabis.

    The reasoning behind 3 is some research I’ve been doing. United States Patent 7968594 from GW Pharma Limited for Sativex. I knew of it for MS and moving along in testing. This patent shows how they plan to use it to replace anything we are doing. I can see it coming. Sativex passes through so Feds ban anything States are doing since it replaces any possible combination of cannibinoids. So Feds keep anything besides Sativex (sch. III) on schedule I. I think this is the big push for the FDA & DEA’s actions.
    Either GW is owned by Monsanto or the other way around. Monsanto as a seed company uses GMO so I assume they were in on the strain used for Sativex. Which is un-disclosed. I think Monsanto is eye balling Hemp once they can fine tune how they ruin farmers over Corn or wheat.

    I’m interested to hear what you have to share. I truly believe economics will decide it. The money to continue this madness is running out.

  4. brucejohns says:

    Maybe it’s me (probably) but I don’t understand, nor have I seen, a switch to a legalization movement among the cannabis community here in MT. As far as decrim, I like Alaska’s law…it ain’t perfect, but it beats the heck out of what we have IMHO. The only mainstream group, that I’m aware of, that promotes full legalization is NORML….for about 4 decades. I don’t understand what you’re getting at. You can’t just accuse a group of scaring off a federal patient….accuse them of having a legalization agenda, and then just sluff it off. Please enlighten us here. We all need to be in-the-loop. Just sayin 🙂

    • It appears to have been addressed – so I see no reason to drag it out further actually.

      Sometimes it just takes a poke….and things right themselves….

      I’ll keep watching. If things change – I’ll definitely be discussing it more openly.

      No need to have a big ol freak out about everything……we need to fix this law and get our signatures.

  5. Bruce Cain says:

    The Achilles Heal is to Deschedule Cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act. Unfortunately the Frank/Paul Bill will never make it out of committee. We must engage in a National Initiative to force Congress to Deschedule, Free the Prisoners and protect “home growers” from any form of taxation and regulation: just like beer. My little group help defeat Prop19 because we saw it as a “monopolization” ploy. Every adult should be able to grow their own Medicine whether that be Cannabis, Foxglove, Valarien or what ever. We need thousands of activists to join our GMR group. We need to implement the MERP Strategy.

    I represent the view that Marijuana self cultivation should be untaxed, unregulated and uncontrolled. The plant belongs to ALL of the people and not Big Pharma: which is where the Elite are planning this issue to go. The video (below) contains some background on the MERP Model:

    (1) Overview
    (2) Effect on Drug Cartels, Medical Patients & Home Invasions
    (3) Strategy for Implementation

    If you get the chance let me know what you think of the concept and pass it on.

    Bruce W. Cain

    The MERP Strategy for Marijuana Re-Legalization in a Nutshell

    And here are some additional links with more on MERP. But the video above is the best exposition of the MERP Model and how it can be implemented NATION WIDE with your help.

    Because Marijuana is Safer that Beer . . .
    How About We Start Treating It That Way?
    MERP Headquarters
    The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy Project (MRPP)= “MERP”
    http://www.newagecitizen.com/MERP.htm

    Why We Should Not Allow Marijuana to be Taxed or Regulated – the “Big Picture”
    http://www.newagecitizen.com/MERP/RelegalizeNowObama55.htm

    Obama’s War on Marijuana: Racist, Hypocritical and Unconstitutional
    http://www.newagecitizen.com/MERP/RelegalizeNowObama56.htm

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