Had to get off the Facebook because I was becoming too reactive to it. My attention went to the options I was given, looking too much at what was happening, and not enough at the as-of-yet-uncreated road ahead.
But alas, we take ourselves with us wherever we go and I took my attention from one streaming media right to another and instead ended up checking in regularly at a cosmic conspiracy theory website that offered a varied, daily news feed – politics, Occupy Wall Street, medical marijuana news, some new age, some economics, astronomy, natural medicine, a little physics. No movie stars. But it does go out there on the edge sometimes with what it includes in the feed, UFO sightings, for example. I believe in some whacked out stuff. I don’t know why I turn my nose up at the idea of aliens. Nonetheless, apparently, a fairly popular current doomsday theory is that high-ranking members of the government have been in cahoots with the aliens for years (the World Weekly News was right!) and now the shit is coming down.
Imprisoned by aliens on our own planet – wouldn’t it just be the worst? If we were in a made-for-the-t.v. movie we’d have to use our human ingenuity to prevail. They’d have studied us. So to outfox them, our plan would have to be based on a uniquely human quality that you can only understand by actually being human and not just studying them.
But I think we’re fine.
Since we’re not living in a made-for-the-t.v. movie, I also tune into the Occupy twitter feeds from around the country, the world, and watch videos of thousands of people in the streets in Oakland and New York. Tear gas is being used on citizens and a former marine suffered a fractured skull and swelling in the brain from a rubber bullet fired by the Oakland police. Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, hundreds in some cases, thousands in others, people on the streets saying ‘no’ to the manufactured reality pumped into the culture. Some say Occupy is anti-government. Others claim it’s calling for an expansion of government. What it is is anti-corporate control of government, politics, markets, and all of civil society.
While video and tweets showed people running in the streets of major cities, CNN was featuring a story about how satisfied Gen X is with life, a story about a middle class guy who doesn’t agree with the Occupy movement, and one about how the Occupy movement is becoming violent. (Tear gas and rubber bullets – ouch, ouch, ouch – sounds violent to me.)
Business as usual is not the name of the game. And the stock market is lying really low. What’s the money doing so quietly? Finding out what’s real?
Lies. They’re just not holding up like they used to. And when they fail to cast their spell, they dig in deeper and get out the guns. Your belief in the lie is not required. That you don’t interfere with the constructing of the world as if the lie were true, is.
You know what I’m talking about.
The 2012 election will be the fourth election in a row where control of the Senate lies in just a handful of races. Currently, the Democrats control the U.S. Senate with 51 seats. Two seats are in the hands of Independents. Republicans hold 47. Republicans need to pick up just four Senate seats order to gain control of the U.S. Senate.
In Montana, in 2005, Democrat Jon Tester gained a seat in the Senate for the Democrats by beating out incumbent Republican Conrad Burns by a slim 3562 votes (199,845 votes versus 196,283). In 2012, Tester is being challenged by Republican Representative Denny Rehberg. By any list, Montana is again named as one of the key races in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate. National resources will be targeted to the Tester-Rehberg race because when it comes to investing in buying the Senate, fewer people to reach makes Montana a comparably cheap date.
But the 2012 elections have a new variable that wasn’t present when Tester and Burns faced off in 2006: The Cannabis Vote.
The 2011 legislature passed SB 423 which would have destroyed access to medical marijuana in Montana had a court not ruled to enjoin several key provisions based on their likely unconsitutionality. Last week, IR-124, which would repeal SB 423, qualified for the 2012 ballot. IR-124’s success means Montana can account for at least 35,000 registered voters unwilling to let the legislature undo medical marijuana access in Montana.
Compare that 35,000 to the 3,562 Tester beat Burns with in ‘06.
How many of those 35,000+ voters are willing to vote in the 2012 election as single-issue voters, willing to vote only for candidates good on the cannabis issue? What if for single-issue cannabis voters no good candidate equalled a withheld vote?
In other words, it may be that the cannabis vote in Montana has the power to determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate in 2012.
So, what would it take for Rehberg or Tester to lay claim to this potentially tens of thousands of votes?
And these would just be the politically easy options.
Telling the feds to butt out is not a dangerous political position to take. It could be more challenging for Tester in that “the feds” are currently operating under the auspices of a Democratic administration. On the otherhand, Rehberg would need to buck his party position at the state level and it’s possible that Rehberg’s base includes the most rabid anti-cannabis forces in Montana. But are they rabid enough to walk away from voting Republican if Rehberg were to take a states’rights approach to defending Montana and our current effort to create good policy concerning the regulation of cannabis?
Tester probably has more to lose by ignoring the cannabis vote. But he also has more to gain by making a sensible stand.
Tens of thousands. It’s a lot of votes.
The Alliance for Cannabis Science formed to bring the perspective of science and standards to the Montana Legislative session.
For the past two years, neither state statutes nor the market (patients) were imposing standards on the unexpectedly burgeoning medical cannabis and cannabidiol market place. The state statutes didn’t/don’t define parameters, standards, and systems for the new dynamics of the market. For example, anxiety and pain patients have no ability to shop around or compare the best CBD for anxiety and make informed consumer choices. The only pressure for standards came from those in the medical cannabis marketplace who thrive for excellence for the sake of excellence itself.
The Alliance for Cannabis Science represents such people.
The field of cannabis science and cannabis medicine has grown significantly in the past several years and while the Montana cannabis industry needs statutory infrastructure, that infrastructure needs to create a system and support standards and excellence, as opposed to imposing punishment on all and any patient, potential patient, or business who has participated. It’s true, some have not lived up to reasonable standards. Some probably aren’t even aware of what reasonable standards are.
What does it mean to do this well? – is the question the Alliance asks.
Policies that make it “harder” to be a patient or run a business don’t necessarily keep “fake patients” and bad business operators out. Policies directed at making functionality harder, but not better, serve to direct the efforts of bad actors within the industry at circumventing rules. With standards, effort, by necessity, must instead be directed towards high performance. Some will live up to standards of accountability, safety, and service. Some will not.
There will also be those who surpass the standards and become the leaders in the industry, setting the bar higher than the statutes.
Members of the Montana delegation (Senators Baucus and Tester and Reprentative Rehberg) all came out in defense of 2nd amendment rights after a memo from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) stated that medical marijuana users (or even those with referrals whether they actually ever used cannabis or not) did not have the right to own or purchase firearms.
It is interesting to note that cannabis is treated as considerably more dangerous than guns. In Montana, you don’t need a permit or a license to purchase a gun. You do need a “permit” in the form of a referral to purchase cannabis. You are not limited to how many guns you can have. You are limited to how much cannabis you can be in possession of.
In the U.S., in 2007, there were 17,352 gun-related suicides, and 12,632 gun-related homicides. 1520 of those deaths were of children age 0 – 17.
Death by cannabis: 0.
So, the ATF was taking away a person’s constitutional right to something that kills nearly 30,000 citizens per year, more than 80 a day, because of his or her utilization of a therapeutic plant that has not only not killed anybody, but has brought relief to or restored the health of hundreds of thousands.
And, while our Montana delegation is willing to stand up for people’s right to a product that kills more than 80 people a day, they have not been willing to stand up for people’s right to a plant with therapeutic properties that is safer than aspirin (16,000 deaths by aspirin per year for arthritis patients alone).
Pharmaceuticals. Cigarettes. Alcohol. Guns. All have a rap sheet when it comes to killing people. Yet, cannabis is the outlaw.
There is no reason why those who utilize cannabis should be denied a constitutional right afforded other citizens, even if it is a right some citizens are uncomfortable with or would like to see greater regulation of (“gun control”). However, it is difficult to ignore the hypocrisy and pandering of our delegation when they have ignored federal agents overrunning our state borders and indicting citizens under the claim that Montana’s laws don’t matter.
We’re glad our delegation is willing to protect guns. But what about people’s lives and their health? What about people’s liberty? What about the fact that people, Montanans, go to prison and have their lives ruined because of a fiction about cannabis made up 80 years ago to protect economic interests? What about the fact that Montana citizens voted in access to medical cannabis?
Was the Montana delegation protecting citizens, or pandering to them?
Following the AFT memo, many members of the Montana Cannabis Industry Association (MTCIA) sent letters to our delegation asking that they support and/or sign on as co-sponsors to H.R. 2306 which would recognize state sovereignty when it comes to medical marijuana laws. The group, The Montana Coalition for Rights, also sent the Montana delegation a letter asking that they introduce legislation with similiar aims. Their letter was a request that the delegation “introduce and enact legislation that will exempt Cannabis from federal enforcement actions in states which have enacted or may enact medical marijuana laws” and “respect state sovereignty with respects to medical marijuana laws.” They asked for a response by October 5th.
Will our delegation respond to these groups and citizens? Will their letter and emails be acknowledged?
Is our delegation’s willingness to stand up for tens and thousands of Montanans real, or is it just a press hit?