420: A Fine Day to Protect Access

April 20, 2016

Happy 420 to all.

Signature gathering has begun for I-182 to protect access to medical marijuana and create an accountable, responsible regulatory foundation for the system. Marine Corps veteran Taylin Lang and cancer patient Katie Mazurek did an outstanding job yesterday making it clear why a new medical marijuana law for Montana is so important at this time.

We also saw yesterday the conversion of Larry Jent, Democratic candidate for Montana’s Attorney General. Jent was the only Democrat on the Montana Senate Judiciary committee who had voted for repeal in 2011. In fact, his opposition to medical marijuana was so strong, his remarks were used in a radio ad for the short-lived legalization campaign (“Montana First”) that same year. Yesterday, however, Jent came out in support of I-182 and in a radio interview with Montana Public Radio shared how he came to learn and recognize the reality of the medical applications of cannabis.

This is good news, and perhaps promising news for those of us concerned with the upcoming legislative session. While we can’t expect that all of our state legislators have “seen the light,” perhaps we will be surprised by progress in the attitudes of our elected officials. Since 2011, we also have seen the conversion of Dr. Sanjay Gutpa of CNN, previously a prohibitionist, and now a medical marijuana advocate. His specials on the science of the human cannabinoid system and the way it can utilize the plant-based cannabinoids in cannabis to promote health and healing added significantly to the mainstreaming of medical marijuana.

Good luck today to all of the initiatives challenging the injustices of prohibition and to the individuals working on them who invest time and energy in changing public policy regarding a plant that is not only safer than alcohol and tobacco, but is one with properties that can soothe symptoms and restore the health of friends and families coping with debilitating illnesses.

Good luck, and thanks to all who don’t give up.

And don’t forget to register to vote, sign the blue petition, and like the page for Montana Citizens for I-182.