The integration of cannabis into the society will have far-reaching impacts - not as a result of people consuming it, but as a result of people understanding it. The emerging legitimate cannabis market and industry impacts the society, the culture, and the economy. As a writer, lobbyist, and policy wonk, Kate Cholewa offers a broad perspective for those both inside and outside the movement and industry.
The buzz beyond the buzz
On Wednesday, June 22, the hearing concluded on whether to postpone Montana’s new medical marijuana law’s effective date until the constitutionality of the law can be better examined by the courts. Judge Reynolds has indicated he will rule before the July 1 effective date. The court proceedings ended around noon. Several hours later, Joshua Luke Schultz was taken into custody and was arraigned along with two other men the next day on charges stemming from the federal raids on medical marijuana facilities on March 14th.
The raids of March 14th took place as the Senate Judiciary committee was making a critical vote on HB 161, the outright repeal of medical marijuana in Montana. As the vote unfolded in committee, federal agents started pointing guns statewide, executing raids on Montana medical marijuana businesses.
The feds get aggressive at critical moments when Montana is trying to figure out state policy.
On my blog post dated June 19, I wrote:
“Will the judicial system be allowed to undertake its process without interference? Will more federal raids be staged to coincide with state policy-making … ? Will federal indictments from those raids conveniently be handed down the week decisions are being made by state courts? No one’s been charged yet from those raids. Were indictments being “saved” so to be conveniently served up to impact state policy, yet again?
It almost sounds too heavy-handed. Any bets?”
In a statement, Montana’s U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter says of the June 22 indictment, “Today’s indictment is a step towards ensuring the alleged large scale distribution of the addictive and dangerous gateway drug of marijuana are curtailed in the state of Montana.”
“Addictive.” “Dangerous.” “Gateway drug.” Grab a hand full of buzzwords and shove them into one sentence. It’s so over-the-top, Cotters’ statements and the timing of the indictments. I hope the quote in Cotter’s mouth was put there by the federal government and that they’re making him say it because it’s too late for this kind of propaganda in Montana.
The citizens know better.
Note also, he said, “alleged large scale distribution of …marijuana.” This is a strange turn of phrase. So is he saying that there may not be large-scale distribution of marijuana in Montana? That it’s only “alleged”?
Well, with 30,000 patients and more than 4000 providers, yes, some marijuana was in distribution. It’s not “alleged.” The exchanges are supposedly protected by state law.
And a word about the “gateway drug” bit. They say marijuana leads to stronger, more dangerous drugs. But how can that be? Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, the most dangerous category of drugs of them all. According to the feds, meth and oxycotin are less dangerous and addictive than marijuana. They’re Schedule 2 drugs. According to this logic, meth would be the “gateway drug” to marijuana.
The level of irrationality is insane.
Meanwhile, we wait for our ruling.
Judge Reynolds isn’t deciding whether cannabis is good or bad. He’s weighing two things.
These are the questions on which Judge Reynolds will base his ruling.
Light a candle for the Judge.
(See Jason Burns, also taken into custody, warns other caregivers)