“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes – and ships – and sealing-wax –
Of cabbages – and kings –
And why the sea is boiling hot –
And whether pigs have wings.”
– Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There,” 1872.
The walrus and the carpenter were engaged in nothing more than chit and chat. Many of us are still searching for the answers to a more perplexing question: Why should medical marijuana be banned or restricted?
I’m not saying medical dope should not be banned. I just want to know why.
A friend suggests that burning weed is not good for a person’s health. Others would argue, “Right! Big Macs, cell phones, and little chocolate bunnies sold at Easter are not good for a person’s health either.”
Noting that Americans now come in three sizes - Hefty, El Gordo and Moby Dick - I am forced to agree. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta show the West, including Montana, leaner than the rest of the country. The corn-fed Midwest is America’s porker belt.
Others call the vile weed a “gateway drug.” Can’t argue that, but so are cigarettes and (I suspect) Big Macs.
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney calls marijuana a “starter drug.” He’s right. MJ is a starter drug. So are Bud Light and Marlboros.
Voter Initiative 148 legalized the sale of medical marijuana to those doctor-certified in need of medical MJ’s relief. Sixty-three percent of the voters thought MMJ was a good idea.
However, federal law still barred sale and possession of the drug. Apparently, medical marijuana became legal in Montana, but only in those parts of Montana that lie outside the United States.
The new law had little effect until the Obama administration announced it would not enforce federal laws banning the wicked weed.
A memo from the Department of Justice set fire to Montana’s medical marijuana industry. Caravans rolled cross country recruiting new card carriers.
Marijuana stores opened all over the state. The number of card carriers soared from 400 to 31,000.
Legislators decided that the people had made a stupid mistake.
Maybe the solons were right. Many folks thought they were voting for medical marijuana for the terminally ill, patients suffering through chemotherapy, and folks with monster tumors in their brains. Voters so inclined believed that doctors in white coats and sterile settings would make Solomonic decisions of who gets to smoke what, when and how.
Instead, entrepreneurs found doctors ready to sign MMJ cards (at $100 a whack) for anyone with an ingrown toenail or hangover.
Sen. Jeff Essmann, R-Billings, waited until the Legislature was ready to adjourn before introducing Senate Bill 423. The bill passed both houses and was signed by the governor. SB-423 was intended to squeeze all of the profit out of the MMJ industry and reduce (or eliminate) the number of card-carrying dope smokers.
The cannabis industry and friends responded with a voter initiative, IR 124, that would repeal SB 423.
I found this protest on a left-wing blog: “many good and decent Montanans, myself included, were snookered (by IR124). We did NOT vote to provide medical marijuana to legions of chronic pain ‘sufferers’ in their 20s. We saw this as a gesture of hope to people who had chronic, potentially life-ending, diseases and who had exhausted traditional medical remedies.”
Billings mayor Tom Hanel said he opposed the sale of medical marijuana because the new law (IR 124) failed to spell out limits of MMJ sale.
“In my opinion the majority of persons who obtained a medical marijuana card did not have a legitimate need, resulting in recreational use, which certainly was not the intent,” Hanel said.
“I would also question the credibility and morals displayed by some of the providers as it appeared to me that it was no more than a financial gain. I have never disagreed that Medical Marijuana ‘may’ help those with a justified need. Unfortunately, the disbursement and use far exceeded the purpose. As said, ‘It’s back to the drawing board.’”
Hmm. Questionable credibility and morals for financial gain? Sounds almost like capitalism.
The friends of cannabis were indeed guilty of “snookering” the public. But the friends aren’t holding the only cues. Medical marijuana opponents are a bit snookerish too. The notion that SB423 will keep marijuana from kids is a joke. The average age of MMJ card holders is 41.
What makes cannabis evil? The question still has not been answered.
Here’s a question for Sen. Essmann, “Do you truly believe alcohol is not a drug?
Think about it. Those long-chain hydrocarbons do funny things with an imbiber’s brain while dissolving the bones in his legs.