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February 2011
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What’s wrong with Montana GOP?

I always thought that Montanans had quite the independent streak. They thumbed their noses at the Feds when it came to speed limits. They considered themselves kind of frontiersmen who didn’t need the government telling them everything. Their conservatism was really more closely related to a form of libertarianism, I thought.

That may be true of the population, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be true of their GOP leadership.

I don’t know if you’ve been following this, but the GOP has apparently found the most pressing thing they need to do in Montana state government is to repeal the state’s medical marijuana law which was passed by the people 62 percent to 38 percent!

HELENA – Republican legislative leaders strongly condemned Montana’s medical marijuana program Thursday, as they spoke to reporters at the midsession break, while Democratic leaders denounced repeal attempts as another GOP effort to defy the will of voters.

At a Capitol news conference, House Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade, talked about his bill to repeal the law, and Senate President Jim Peterson, R-Buffalo, spoke strongly against medical marijuana, although he stopped short of saying it should be repealed. […]

Milburn’s House Bill 161 would repeal that law. The bill has cleared the House on a mostly party-line vote and now faces action in the Senate.

As usual, out of control scare tactics are being used. Note, though, the subtle dig by the Missoulian reporter:

At the GOP news conference, Peterson asked if Montanans want one-third of high school kids with medical-marijuana cards.

Official state statistics show that 51 people under age 18 have been issued medical marijuana cards as of Feb. 1, or 0.18 percent of the 28,362 people with cards.

If they’re unhappy with the number of medical marijuana cards in the adult population, then the discussion that the Montana GOP should be having is to get government out of the business of running a drug war, and just legalize marijuana. They can then set an age limit of 18 if they wish. Save the kids, reduce government, promote individual responsibility, thumb your noses at the feds. Isn’t that what you really want, Montana?

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21 comments to What’s wrong with Montana GOP?

  • anonymous2

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard of besides the government in New Mexico trying to do the same thing. 62% of the people are against the repeal assuming that the same percentage voted in favor for the original bill the enact the MMJ program, so why do these goofballs think they have a right to go against what the people of Montana want? Are they forgetting who they work for? Are our governments no longer of the people, by the people and for the people?

  • Rookie

    No the Governments are not for the People.. They believe they are to protect the People from themselves since they are the all knowing benevolent ones…

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    Montana’s never been the same since they let their curiosity get the better of them on bareback mountain. Now it seems to me that they’re just a bunch of gurly men whining to be nannied and mollycoddled by their masters in the legislature. (yes, I’m fooling)
    ……………………………………………………

    On a seriously, a patients’ advocacy group did a poll and found only 20% of Montanans favor repeal. There’s an awful lot of people who are pissed of at Mr. Milburn & the GOP who are no friends of ours outside of this situation. From time to time since this repeal thing came up I’ve thought it quite possible that the repeal thing is just grandstanding by the repubitards and being used to pile on a an onerous set of restrictions, after which the potheads breath a sigh of relief that they didn’t flush it completely, at least in their plan (my fantasy). The GOP clowns get to score points with their constituents because they “tried to repeal” but the “liberals” stood in their way.

    This controversy is why they pulled Cash Hyde out and introduced him to the public. Amazingly, there are people who think that Baby Hyde’s parents are using him for political gain and/or to increase their plant counts.

    Montana keeps statistics of age brackets of cardholders. I found it fascinating to learn that there are more patients over age 81 than minors, that total being 70 including 10 over age 91. I was disappointed that there’s no patients over 101. I’ve been beating them up with that, “who’s going to go down and tell grandpa and grandma that they’re going get get to suffer more than needed because there are politicians with a self serving political agenda? A couple of more categories, there are 296 patients over age 71-80, 2073 age 61-70, and 6353 age 51-60.

    page 4: http://www.dphhs.mt.gov/medicalmarijuana/MMPRegistryInformationJanuary2011.pdf

    The other distinct possibility is that this entire thing is a distraction to keep the Montana voters from thinking about the looming budget deficit. Less than a year ago they were crowing over being one of the few States that wasn’t in the red. Today they’re looking at an annual deficit approaching 1/2 billion dollars. But guess how much it would cost the state to incarcerate 28,000 cardholders. Well first where are they going to put them? There’s only 13,000 prisoners in their penitentiaries. Presuming the same cost per prisoner as today’s, 28,000 new inmates would add somewhere between $800,000,000 and a $billion with a B.
    http://www.cor.mt.gov/facts/default.mcpx

    Even just presuming probation/short prison followed by parole the cost would not be less than substantial presuming that every patient is forced into a re-education program. None of this includes social services for dependents left behind when the family breadwinner is in prison/forced re-education.

    “What does it cost to supervise an offender in community corrections programs?

    The per-day cost at a pre-release center is $59 for males and about $69 for females. The daily cost of treatment programs ranges from $79 to $193. The daily cost of supervising an offender on probation or parole is about $5.11.”

    The legislature is making a lousy bet if it really is their intention to repeal. They really should consider what occurred in Arizona in 1998 after medical cannabis won in 1996 but was dismissed by their legislature. Because of that the residents passed a ballot initiative restricting the legislature from overturning such a vote and requires a 75% supermajority to amend such a law. They can also only change the law in a way that enhances the voter initiated law. If they repeal there’s no doubt that a repeal of the repeal will be on the 2012 ballot. There’s a lot of people making a lot of money in the medical cannabis racket and they’re not going to let their golden goose be fricasseed without a fight. Yes, I know how people hate people who make a profit but in this case the cannabis mongers interests are aligned with the patients’ interests, just like the Montanans who were 100% against this bill but also believe that the will of the people is the will of the people will join us in this particular issue. Think US and the Russian commies being allies in WW2 because we shared a mutual enemy/threat. Think the US being allied with all Queda in the early 1980s because we both hated the Russian commies. Damn, I gotta wonder how thing would be different if we had minded our own business in 1983ish and let the Russians punk the Afghans. Yes, in 1983 the people we call terrorists today were called “freedom fighters” by Mr. Ray-gun and friends.

    • darkcycle

      Exactly, Duncan…another manufactured-for-the-media show and cheap sleight-of-hand-trick. Executed to keep the public eyes away from real problems facing Montana right now: Devastating mismanagement and criminal malfeasance in erasing that States surplus and driving a region with a tiny tax base to the brink of bankruptcy.

  • DdC

    In Cali, as far as I know. A citizen’s initiative can not be over turned or changed by politicians. Any politician that writes and passes a law can be changed or stopped. But the citizens have to vote to repeal and get a majority. I don’t see how Montana can change what the citizens voted for. Even if the politician is appeasing the cops like they have tried here. It never passes the Courts. Plant limits can’t be lowered or even numbered. They have tweaked buyers clubs under zoning laws. But not individuals or amounts. Weird and totally useless to repeal this law and to say kids can’t get medicine from their doctors prescribing it is barbaric. I don’t think you can include medicinal use the same as recreational with age limits. Government has left the building. They no longer protect individual citizens. They protect the public’s interest. The last time I met “the public” I was strolling down the Beach and it was with a guy who owned the ocean. The only reason for a “public” is to include non breathing entities like corporations. That is “the public” the government protects. We all need a great big dose of Madison! I think they were originally the first to decriminalize with a $5 fine.

  • Tony Aroma

    If the legislature repeals the voter initiative, what’s to stop another voter initiative that would overturn the legislature? After all, it took three tries before mmj finally “stuck” in Arizona. Since it’s obvious that very few voters actually want the law repealed, it seems very likely another initiative would easily pass. Maybe that would finally send the message to the Republicans in the legislature that they are going against the will of their constituents. Surely even they understand the consequences of defying the people that put them in office.

    And if it is repealed, I think all 27,000+ registered users in Montana should immediately turn themselves in to the authorities, preferably all at the same place and the same time.

  • Ned

    Remember, before Richard Nixon and the Viet Nam war era, pot was demonized for being something that minorities and musicians used. The 60s changed that to hippies and liberals. These days Republican tribal instincts are to see medical or legal pot as a progressive or Democratic cause and they will oppose it on that basis alone. It matters not, what the polls say or the facts. Tribal loyalty and waging culture war trumps all for Republicans.

  • vicky vampire

    It’s not just Montana,it’s weird out their folks, Iv’e heard on shows lately like even Rusty Humphries a few years ago on radio was almost OK with folks using medical marijuana at leas he came across more compassionate, all of a sudden the republicans take congress and his attitude is like keep late bloody weed away from the kids and he was rallying against facebook, Yeah I used to be a real geniune freedom small government loving republican now I’m Libertarian., then about ten years not just Rusty but more and more I saw that these freedom loving so called independents republicans whether from Montana or Florida,slowly started to in incremental ways were doing same things they accused dems of doing in controlling what you could do with property,and other rights, its almost like they became what they hated in others copycat crimes.
    I really think part of it is the gay marriage thing some republicans are so furious about that issue that they think they are losing there kids to drugs and sex and well HELLO drugs and sex have always been around its just frustration of there own weaknesses in certain areas too. trying to make everyone miserable along with them.
    They are furious too that Pres.obama got elected its those pot heads independents that helped get him elected and turned there back on conservatives its pay back time. Just my humble opinion today it all crazy lately.

  • This is not my America

    Say good by to America…when the minority can make all decisions for the majority…we no longer will have a republic.

    They are SOOO worried about 51 med cards held by those under 18? How about the hundreds or thousands of under age that can buy weed off the street in and unregulated market. What a strawman, back handed, ignorant way to do things.

    Hey pete, you getting massive traffic on your site lately? Been having a problem linking to your site.

  • frankie

    This is what happens when religious fanatics out of
    Billings get started. Code of the West what a joke!
    That code used to mean something….now its just
    lip service……………

  • ezrydn

    Idiots probably too busy scratching each others back last week to catch the story of the youngest MMJ card holder. I think she is 7-8. Every doctor on her crew signed off on her usage (vial oral) for her brain cancer. They need it to “depressurize a bit” before they go in and this seems to do the trick.

    Hope no truly sick Montanan is reading this, or, maybe they should be and get mad as hell at what’s going on behind their back.

  • FM58

    I would like to personally thank Duncan20903 for the outstanding posts in the Billings Gazette. Duncan, you bring sanity to the equation and facts to the argument. Unfortunately, facts mean nothing to the know-nothings. You just say it so well. Keep up the good work!

    • Duncan20903

      “…you bring sanity to the equation and facts to the argument. Unfortunately, facts mean nothing to the know-nothings.

      Agreed, but god save our society if I’m the voice of sanity. Then again the most respected news reporter in the US is Jon Stewart so we already knew that reality has been seriously perverted. If my goal was to convince those people of anything I would at least need to go home and rest. At worst I would end up getting to meet Nurse Ratched in person and find out what medications she’s dispensing to the inmates nowadays. But I respond to the Know Nothings in the hope that some people sitting on the fence will understand the truth.

      “May I have my cigarettes please Nurse Ratched?”

      “Forget the cigarettes Cheswick, cigarettes are not important. Sit down, willya?”
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5NyyC-UjBM

      Hey, there’s a band called Nurse Ratched, lol!
      Nurse Ratched (the band):
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hi3U8nXWmHQ

      Hey, did everyone know that Ken Kesey was tripping on LSD when he wrote that book?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Kesey#One_Flew_Over_the_Cuckoo.27s_Nest

  • Servetus

    Crazy things are happening in Montana with the Tea Baggers’ agenda, and now it looks as if the anachronistic Republicans are employing the same methods to keep their party in the news.

    Unfortunately for the parties, but good for the people, there seems to be a place in Montana’s government where the buck will stop:

    Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer [obtained] a new cattle brand from the state livestock agency that reads ‘VETO.’ A branding iron is being made.

    Ain’t nobody in the history of Montana has had so many danged ornery critters that needed branding, he said.”

    http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/article_a5511fe8-4070-11e0-9c79-001cc4c002e0.html

  • MTinMO

    What it all comes down to is all the people who did not get out and vote in the 2010 elections. On the state and national level, the difference is astounding. In 2008 in Montana- 497,599 people took part in the general election. In 2010 that number fell to 367,096. That is a difference of 130,503 voters. Is it any wonder so many GOPers won seats and are now taking advantage of the election to try to change even the things that the voters had passed. They are getting away with all they are doing because of the voter apathy that allowed them to get there in the first place.

    In Wisconsin, almost a million fewer voters voted in 2010 compared to 2008. Do you think the union busting attempts would be going on there if the people had gotten out and voted? In the US as a whole, more than 56 million failed to vote in 2010 that voted in 2008. The Republicans may have won, but they didn’t do it with the mandate they are trying to claim. But you better believe we need to vote in 2012 in the same numbers we did in 2008 if we want to stop these far righters. Tha is our only defense.

  • TeaParty = Religious Right

    It’s more clear than ever we have the Christian Right running the Tea Party movement and they overwhelmingly are opposed to opening the door to the marijuana industry even for compassionate reasons.

    • This is not my America

      Ya they still think they have the moral high ground.

      There aint nothing moral about ruining peoples lives or worse, killing them over cannabis…wonder how god veiws them for that?

      Their high ground is chest deep in bullshit and getting deeper…yet they continue to spew the bullshit.

  • darkcycle

    “….and this time we really mean it!…” DEA bans ‘Spice’. Again.

  • dbeall

    maybe you could plant some heroin and crack in the politicians car and get them busted before they can act..

    I know, that would be to much like poetic justice