In a recent interview with Montana Public Television in its news program “From the People: Montana’s 2012 Ballot Measures,” House Speaker Mike Milburn (R-Cascade) offers a compelling argument for state’s rights, directly applicable to medical marijuana in Montana.
During the interview, Speaker Milburn says that “States should have certain rights, and when we see those being encroached upon, we do need to push back.” Of the millions of medical marijuana patients around the country, and the over 8000 such patients in the state of Montana, most would agree. In accordance with the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution, those powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved to the states. Laws relating to the health of citizens and the police power of government are typically in the control of the states to determine for themselves. Where federal law encroaches on the laws of the state, the states should push back to create and enforce their own laws. Currently 17 states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana use and cultivation for citizens. Montana was the 11th state to establish a law through a voter initiative in 2004.
Thank you, Speaker Milburn, for so clearly articulating what many of us feel. Our elected officials should stand up for the will of the people and send a clear message to the federal government that police power and the ability to manage the health of citizens belong at the state level.
Unfortunately, this argument was made not with respect to medical marijuana, but rather with the clearly unconstitutional Legislative Referendum 122, which attempts to circumvent federal law and outlaw Obamacare.
When it comes to laws regulating use of marijuana as medicine by state citizens, Speaker Milburn quickly flip-flops. “We have to remember that it’s really not legal to grow. We have said in the state, from a state standpoint, you can do it, but you can’t circumvent the federal government’s laws.”
It takes a special kind of leader to pivot so quickly within the same interview without even noticing his own self-contradiction. Where it’s apparently ok to push back against the federal government when it is unconstitutional do to so, Speaker Milburn is unwilling to stick up for citizens in matters of health. He even appears proud of the fact that he worked directly against the will of the people by “getting as close to repeal of the original law as possible.” Speaker Milburn appears to be somewhat confused as to who he actually works for. Maybe he should go visit the other 16 medical marijuana states and the District of Columbia and explain to them how the law works.
Watch “From the People: Montana’s 2012 Ballot Measures,” and see for yourself. It is current airing around the state on public television stations everywhere, and is currently available online.