Marijuana Aid a Time for Friends & Challenges in the Bitterroot

More tickets were sold than bodies showed for Marijuana Aid 2012. Yet it was still a perfect occasion on a pristine Montana summer day and night. Ryan Creek Meadows is a spectacular music venue and the music for the event was top shelf. Thanks to all those bands and dj’s who donated their time and talents.

 A special thanks to Greta Gaines, singer, musician, and activist who flew in from Tennessee to perform. Backed up by band member Eric Fitsch, she laid down a smoky groove as well as talked to folks about her perspective from the road in regards to cannabis policy. Thanks, too, to Russ Belville who flew in from Portland to speak on behalf of national NORML. He did a great job riling up the group. Thanks, too, to Representative Ellie Hill who reminded us we are the majority.

 We heard from raid victim Tamara Drake about how the trauma of the raid lingers in her family’s life. We also heard from Tom Patterson of Stevensville, just raided on Wednesday, July 20, after calling the Ravalli county sheriff to ask questions about compliance in the current environment. The sheriff’s office told him they didn’t know the answers but would get back to him. Two hours later, his store (which was not open) was surrounded and remained so for the next four hours while a warrant was obtained.

 All the plants were destroyed and removed. Nothing else was seized. They were put out of business. Tom’s wife and partner, Lisa, begged the officers not to take their livelihood. Tom and Lisa report that most of the officers knew this was a bum deal and were carrying out orders they knew weren’t right. 

Tom and Lisa are good people, dignified people, who served members of their local community and provided a service many are now without.

It was a rough week in the Bitterroot. We also lost Jay Bierer (aka Victor Medicine Man) to a heart attack. Jay was a caregiver/provider and supporter of the MTCIA and was gearing himself up to take on signature gathering on behalf of Patients for Reform, Not Repeal. Our thoughts are with his family.

A final thanks to all those who took the stage for a few minutes to keep us informed and inspired, particularly Mike Hyde. Special thanks to James Haney, Scott Hubeny, Terry Betschart, K.C.’s Med Shed, Sweetwater, Up in Smoke, Banana Belt, and BBC Smoke Shop. Thanks to all the volunteers, vendors, and sponsors. Thanks to MTICA board member Rob McCoy who took care of a lot of behind-the-scenes business and helped keep people safe. And props to MTCIA President Ed Docter who made it happen.

The event gathered good people feeling mutual appreciation for all the work being done. It was a heartfelt occasion full of handshakes and hugs, laughter and condolences, a day infused with poignancy and camaraderie.

It was a time that will be remembered, an “I was there” story.

And the music played ‘til dawn.


 Note: The Bitterroot fundraiser/Battle of the Bands, Saturday July 30, has been cancelled.  







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