Well….it has most certainly been an interesting journey over the summer.

Nothing like fighting to survive to get yer blood pumping. What a freakin roller coaster……

In April – when SB423 was birthed – folks on “our side” were pretty well whooped. and I mean WHOOPED. We had fought long and hard on Capitol hill. We had arrived in January – full of hope – with hat in hand begging for regulation.

Begging for a stop to the insanity – begging for help. Begging to be heard.

Well….that all fell on deaf ears now didn’t it? The session was out for repeal – and the evil Mike Milburn led the charge. I can call Milburn evil – because he is. I saw him on the Capitol lawn Monday, September 19, 2011. In an attempt to talk to him to even see if the man had “settled” (ol Mikey avoided me like the plague during session – and would get big eyes when he saw me – and scurry for his office).

Well….he hasn’t. He was all slick and smiley when I walked up to him – until he realized who I was and that I had a petition clipboard in my hand. Then – well – his demeanor changed completely. The slick smiley politician was GONE – and he was immediately stern and all twitchy again.

I almost thought he was going to get violent – his body language was so…..

His comment to me immediately was “You’re all just a bunch of potheads wanting to smoke dope” and off he stormed. I called after him “Educate yourself Mike – it’ll make you a better person”

At this point – I think you could dip that man in a vat of education and not one drop would absorb. He flat out does NOT care – never will.

So….that was his attitude all session, and still remains today. Point is – this man was Speaker of the House – leading the charge – and was put in this position.

We can NEVER let that happen again. Mike Milburn should NEVER be re-elected -and I hope the good folks in Cascade can find a good replacement to run against him. An educated, compassionate person – who will listen to the people.

Mike showed up at the Wheeler Conference on the 20th. I only saw him there briefly…..and he was gone, much to my relief. The Wheeler Conference was a place for open dialogue – and education. After I had spoke with some of the organizers and informed them of what had happened the day previously – they reassured me that would NOT happen at the conference.

I’d like to think they asked him to leave……as his attitude would not be conducive to the conversation.

Enough about that asshole – he doesn’t deserve the time of day – and I hope folks are smart enough to never GIVE him a vote again. If he runs un-opposed – vote for Snoopy. You can write Snoopy in…..and pretty much guarantee better results.

Alas….I digress.

In May – the Governor let us all down and did not veto SB423. I never trusted him to veto it. I had HOPE…..but didn’t think he would -and he didn’t.

We were railroaded from day one. EVERY regulation bill was shitcanned after the first reading. All the politicians were distracted by HB161 – and that push. A common excuse offered to us was “There’s nothing else on the table”.

Well of course there wasn’t – they had shitcanned it all.

In March – we had the raids. Raids timed exactly to coincide with a Senate hearing on repeal. I had Irvin Rosenfeld in state at the time – we were in Billings that day – March 14, 2011. On the 16th – we had Irvin and Mike Hyde at the Capitol to meet the politicians. Mike had brought his son Cashy, Montanas youngest medical cannabis patient – alive and cancer free today because of Cannabis. That sweet lil kid survived a stage IV brain tumor that was killing him at this time last year.

Meet Cashy here:

http://www.cashhydefoundation.com/cannabis.php

PLEASE support the Cash Hyde Foundation……they are saving children’s lives. Make it a point to meet Mike and Cashy – and if you are lucky enough to get to spend time with them – cherish every moment.

They are amazing people.

The ENTIRE tribe…..and I mean all of em. They are some of the most educated, compassionate folks you will ever have the privilege to know.

And when it comes to love……and family……they are an exemplary example of Montanans with a passion – and helping others.

So….Mike brought Cashy to the Capitol to meet the politicians, tell their story, and help educate with Irvin and I on March 16, 2011.

The politicians met the gorgeous baby boy with his skull scars still fresh and fully exposed. As Cashy played in our Great State Capitol and they all smiled and enjoyed the child – these very same politicians went in and pushed the green button on repeal – essentially saying “FU Cashy – go die”.

Nice folks huh? A two-year old child who survived a TERRIBLE brain cancer…..

FU Cashy – we’re going to repeal this – go die lil kid.

Well….as we all know – repeal failed – at least in HB161. Our mighty Governor vetoed that bastard. Probably the last instance of any intelligence regarding medical cannabis witnessed from that esteemed office, in my honest opinion.

That in turn really pissed off some politicians – so….they created the monster we have now – repeal in it’s own manner. SB423.

Medical Cannabis patients in Montana were pawns in a poker game……a losing hand. At this time I discovered that we were essentially the “new gay” in Montana…….

We’ll get back to that and its results.

By June – the petition to get IR-124 on the street was chugging through the process – and folks were getting cranked up about the lawsuit. The MTCIA had raised funds to hire Jim Goetz – and the fight was on.

The fight really WAS on too – even inner-industry. Certain folks had already undermined many areas of our industry by their actions – and now we had a whole new tribe of pissed off people trying to maintain crash control.

It was like watching a trainwreck…..no matter what you did to stop it – there wasn’t a chance. That train was hurtling off the top off Going to the Sun highway – and it had enough steam behind it – it probably coulda made the Canadian border before it landed.

Yikes…..painful. It had been a brutal session – and now our folks were eating themselves……

I got the hell out of Dodge in July……it was a needed mental break. I had went to Colorado with my daughter in June – spent three weeks working and played a little with my kid. But I was still immersed in the Cannabis industry – and the new pressures and problems facing my home state.

I do love Colorado – I was born in Weld County Hospital in Greeley. My family homesteaded Conifer – and the family farm is still in Milliken.

It was good to be home – but I truly felt I was losing my mind. No matter where I went – the patients had not been represented. It seemed ALL the new laws in states were designed to corral the “evil caregivers” who are actually some of the bravest, most compassionate caring folks a person could have honor to know. That was the key focus – corral the caregivers (Colorado) or just flat out run em out with a pitchfork (Montana).

It was maddening….because I KNOW these folks. I have met so many, and heard and witnessed so many stories. I know the TRUTH about these people – and how wonderful many are.

Don’t get me wrong….we have our bad guys too. EVERY industry does. But to categorize an entire population of people based on a few idiots and abusers….well….that just doesn’t sit so well with me. As a matter of fact – it makes me fighting mad.

I was fighting mad too……

I was mad at the politicians. I was mad at MY politicians! I was mad at our industry and the derision, the division, and the lack of unity and support. We had fought SO hard for SO long…..and everything was going to hell, or so it felt to me.

It was time for Hiedi to take a mental break…..and it was SORELY needed. I had been immersed in everything cannabis….it’s all I read – all I talked about. All I could DO was east, sleep, and dream cannabis – when I sleep. I don’t sleep much – haven’t since I got involved – and really got to know the patients and providers.

After learning all I have and meeting the folks I have – I cannot stop.

THAT is MY addiction to Cannabis……Advocacy.

It has cost me everything….almost. I have went in the hole financially to help others when nobody else would listen….because nobody else would listen. We’re all so busy – we forget about the human condition….we forget to listen…..

I guess that’s why I have my place in this industry. Loudmouth Redneck woman from Montana screaming for patients rights. I’m not going to give up either…we have built one hell of an army of Warriors. Giving up is not something I was never taught growing up – or ever taught my children.

When you want something – you go for it with all you’ve got. No 99% here…..Give er 200%!

On with the tale…….

When I was in Colorado in June – I was invited to be a paid speaker for an event in Florida. My flight was booked shortly after I returned to Montana in June…..

I was both anxious – and very excited to go to Florida. This Montana woman had never been further South than DalHart Texas – or further East than Greeley Colorado. The tropics? In JULY? Holy shit…..I was gonna melt and die. I’m a freakin snow bunny!

My flight was booked – and I got to go to Florida for 10 days. Amazingly, I did it on $8.

That’s a whole nother story…..

Then….dad had a stroke July 15.

My father is of significant importance in my life – as he has been my ONLY parent since 1972, when my mother so graciously decided to excuse herself from our lives via a couple bottles of valium 4 days before my 6th birthday.

Pop raised three of us, by himself in entirety, for the past 38+ years now….so he’s been a pretty big influence. HE is the man who walks on water in MY life.  Pops was both Mom and Dad…..and he taught us well. For such a quiet man…..he sure got a rabblerouser loudmouth for a daughter. 😉 Love ya Pops!

Anyway….dad lives in Helena, 60 miles away from me. On the 15th, when he had his stroke – we didn’t know if for a full day. My brother found him on the 16th. On the 15th, I had went to get my daughter from Camp Utmost, as she had been there all week. On the drive home…..I had the most desperate feeling come over me about 1:00 that afternoon. It was a black cloud of despair and anxiety – something I NEVER experience – and something I couldn’t shake. When we got home I tried to function – and just couldn’t. My mind was racing with anxiety and fear – then depression and sorrow. This went on all night – I woke up with it the next morning too.

About noon the next day – on the 16th – I got a call from my brother. He was with my dad – and the ambulance was there. He didn’t know what had happened – but they were guessing a stroke.

I have never experienced anything like the feeling I got with that call. All the feelings of anxiety and despair, sorrow and depression – well – it’s like they were a coat -and they fell off my shoulders – never to be felt again. In hindsight – I realize now I was tuned into my dad…..and from now on will always listen. Now I know…..

I immediately went into recovery mode. Re-assured my brother I was on my way – and spent the next two days in the hospital with my Father after a hurried drive over Fleisher Pass.

My beloved father had had a pretty serious right brain stroke. When my brother found him – he was alert and conscious – but could only speak gibberish. He had lain on the floor for almost a full 24 hours before anybody found him we determined. That was so painful to discover – but dad had been independent. For YEARS. He was still living in the house he raised us in. We had no warning signs – and after he had his stroke – he had no way to contact is from the floor.

We could have lost this precious man.

I’m not even going to think about what that would have done to me at that particular point in time.

As I spent time in the hospital with my father it was apparent he was still “in there”. His speech was coming back as he got fluids into him and recovered some – and he even had his sense of humor.

Thank GOD for that…..Pops has a wicked sense of humor – and when I saw it in the emergency room – fighting it’s way out – I know he still had his marbles. Pops brain had been horribly damaged and left him immobile on the left hand side – but my precious father was still “in there” mentally. If he could crack a joke in the ER – he was still with us.

2 months into stroke recovery – Pop is doing well. His speech is improving every day – and he gains more feeling in his left side extremities.  He can wiggle his fingers and toes on the left side now – and is gaining more feeling every day. It kills me to have him so far away…..but that just can’t be fixed right now. Where he’ll land post-rehab….nobody knows. We’ll get it figured out – and keep him happy and surrounded by love. Nobody deserves it more than my father.

By July 19…..I had packed for my trip – and I flew away with apprehension. Dad had just had a stroke – and I was about out of my mind mentally. Also – I had never gotten to visit my eldest in Florida, and she had lived there 5 years already. We had made plans and quite honestly…..I needed to get away from everything for a time.

I’m glad I went. It was a necessity. I needed to just walk the hell away from everything for a few days. Get away from Montana – Montana Politics – Cannabis – Industry – Advocacy. I needed a mental break…..a dis-connect for a time – so I could re-connect. Re-focus.

It was Florida….or the Funny Farm. I made the right choice I think…..

Florida was everything and more than I ever expected. The foliage fascinated me – and everywhere I stepped – lizards scooted across the ground. I was in a pool EVERY day – and I was outside every day. It felt good to swim and float….and I spent a lot of time doing just that. Floating….thinking….sorting out things in my mind.

Folks encouraged me to “Go see this…Go see that….” and all I could think was “Why?…..I’m still absorbing THIS”.

The mental break and disconnect was hugely needed…..and I cherish that time to this day. It was the best thing I could do for myself at that time.

Since I have been back – the batteries are recharged – and I’m re-focused. I know what we need to do – and what I have to do to survive – and I’m doing it. Launching Colorado Connect is a primary focus now – I have received SO much support – and it is so desperately needed. Montana Connect is still alive – and content is developed for the next issue. Still developing – and I intend to get one out no later than November…..it’s just a struggle in Montana after the new law and all.

Montana Connect will never die……ever. I intend to be here in another 20 years whacking politicians around with it then too….if they don’t ever get smartened up.

It’s time to end the ignorance and lies.

Hope to hear from you folks – and see some of you jump in the next issue. Your support is needed – and welcome.

Give me a call at 406-594-7932 or e-mail me at montanaconnect@gmail.com

Walk Proud Warriors!

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Comments
  1. danielsgb says:

    Sorry to hear about your dad. Keep up the good work.

  2. Doug Felt says:

    Thanks for the update Heidi, I hope your Dad has a good recovery.

  3. […] post by MontanaConnect This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← Kathryn Harrison […]

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