One reason Montana is in the difficult situation we are today is that the federal government bans medical marijuana.
When Montana voters were considering Initiative 148 in 2004, federal government officials swooped into the state and demanded a “no” vote. Voters rejected the intimidation, voting “yes.”
In 2011, on the very day Montana legislators were deliberating on possible changes to our state medical marijuana law, federal agents conducted 26 simultaneous, surprise raids on medical marijuana providers all over the state. That brazen intimidation had an effect – some supportive legislators decided that it was hopeless to defend the voter-approved law, and backed harsh changes. (What is now IR-124 on the November 6, 2012, ballot.)
Later in 2011, more raids and indictments were launched, providers were sentenced to federal prison, and federal agencies declared that Montanans have no right to bear arms if they use medical marijuana. Suddenly, the U.S. Constitution does not apply if you’re a patient using marijuana.
The federal attack on Montanans’ gun rights was met with proper outrage by some of our leading officials, including Senators Max Baucus and John Tester, and Attorney General Steve Bullock, who wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to criticize problems “created or exacerbated by federal actions and policies.” Bullock urged the national government to show “proper respect and deference to the states” when their laws differ from federal law.
Most recently, the news emerged that federal drug agents have been hinting that state lawmakers who support medical marijuana are somehow involved in “conspiracies” to sell marijuana. One lawmaker complains of federal “harassment” on the issue. To merely oppose the federal ban on medical marijuana is to be a criminal?
Now the voters have a new chance to reject federal government interference, intimidation and outrageous intrusions into the rights of Montana citizens.
By voting AGAINST IR-124, we will send a message to the federal government. We will stand up for Montanans, we will reclaim our rights, and we will find our own solutions to this issue, without more meddling from Washington, D.C.