Thursday, July 4, 2019

Despite Bullock's reticence therapeutic cannabis is flowering in Montana

In 2012 when Steve Bullock was Montana's attorney general running for governor he failed to show up for the rights of same-sex couples to marry and for an initiated therapeutic cannabis law.

His silence on one high-profile case was so deafening that his collusion with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and other Justice officials could barely be heard whispering it in courtroom hallways. The jury in the case didn't hear all the facts because the judge sent them home after instructing them to ignore the medical value of cannabis. Chris Williams was the only person in the case not to plea bargain but his former partners took deals and testified against him. He faced forty five years in prison, was found guilty on eight charges, led away in handcuffs and ended up spending some five years in a federal lockup.

But because of the sacrifices of Montana's pioneers the number of patients in the state's therapeutic cannabis program has grown 342% just in the last three years blossoming to over 34,000 and the number of providers growing for more than 100 cardholders has increased from 50 in July 2018 to 66 last month.

Medical insurance was a hot topic during Montana's 2019 legislative session and in 2017 the body voted to tax therapeutic cannabis. Democratic Governor Steve Bullock vetoed an earth hater bill that would have restricted women's access to reproductive health care and despite Republican entrenchment Democrats in Montana's legislature worked to bring more comprehensive testing for contaminants to better serve that state's therapeutic cannabis patients and providers. Montana and the legislature are being flooded with cash from Koch-backed 'Americans For Prosperity' in a state where the extreme white wing is pushing the legislature to seize federal lands to mine, log, graze, whatever to pay back their benefactors.

It's been said countless times that The Last Best Place is not Oregon (even though the states show commonality in the white nationalist bloc) and elects Democrats with Blue Dog credentials. Both Senator Jon Tester and Bullock believe that with vigilant environmental oversight they would support TransCanada's tarsands enema beginning in Montana. Montana's Left has a hard-on for what it perceives as Democrats being GOP-lite who have deserted progressive ideals just to woo centrist voters.

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana and the Arapahoe Tribe of Oklahoma teamed up and bought 1,020 acres of ranchland north and east of Mato Paha (Bear Butte) in occupied South Dakota adding significantly to their holdings West River. Last year the Oglala Oyate bought off-reservation property on I-90 just outside Badlands National Park. The Fort Peck Tribes in occupied Montana have legalized therapeutic cannabis and the Northern Cheyenne have been mulling the concept. As co-owners of Pe'Sla the Minnesota-based Shakopee Mdewakanton Nation could bring that state's medical cannabis and reproductive rights freedoms to the Black Hills. Lower Brule has struggled with synthetic cannabinoids but that community has off-reservation property in Fort Pierre to test their sovereignty.

It's time to test South Dakota's jurisdiction over nations where cannabis is legal and for tribal medical professionals to establish clinics that perform abortions on non-contiguous off-reservation parcels as islands of health care that supersede state law.

Practical choices beat Democrats in 2016 because our candidates ran away from President Obama, marriage equality and cannabis rights but now Democrats are keenly aware that to energize millennials and a jaded base radical times call for sensible approaches to reforms of civil liberties for all adults. Unless money is raised the earth haters and Nazis of the GOP will keep defining our priorities and buying elections.

Hey, Governor Bullock, instead of gallivanting off to Iowa don't make the same mistake Brian Schweitzer made by allowing a US Senate seat fall to Steve Daines; retake it.


  1. "A University of Montana study found 50.5% of the 293 responses supported legalization, while 37.4 opposed it. The study had 80% of Democrats in favor of legalization, as well as 33% of Republicans." Missoulian

  2. The deadline for filing to compete in the Montana Democratic US Senate primary is March 9, 2020.

  3. "The state-based group ‘New Approach Montana’ delivered the initiatives to the Secretary of State and the Legislative Services Division Monday. That starts a review process by the Montana Attorney General and the governor’s budget director. If the petition language is approved, the group must gather over 25,000 signatures to qualify the statutory initiative for the 2020 ballot and almost 51,000 signatures to qualify the constitutional initiative." Montana Public Radio


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