Federal raids have again shut down Montana medical marijuana dispensing centers. Hundreds of patients are now added to the list of the 19,000 patients without providers. These patients of raided providers have 10 days to tell the state who their new provider is. But provider numbers have dropped from 4000 to 400 since May and now many providers have waiting lists. Many believe that being “big” will make them a target for the feds (and they’re probably right) and so do not want to take on additional patients.
Making matters even worse for patients, under the new law, the capacity to grow one’s own even when having the skills, money, space, and health to do so has been near eradicated except for those who own their own homes. Renters may grow with a landlord’s permission, but what landlord will risk losing his or her property to the aggressive police action of the federal government in Montana?
The net result: Patients are being channeled back into the black market where those who benefit from prohibition want them.
The failure of the Montana legislature to pass regulations for the medical marijuana system has created a tragedy wherein many are beginning to believe that to buy or sell cannabis in the black market is safer than being a citizen trying to provide the service and product legally within a clumsy, catch22-ridden law. The number of Montanans that use marijuana has not increased from before there was a law that allowed for medical use. Yet , we didn’t have DEA raids in Montana when all cannabis use and production was illegal. Medical marijuana siphons money away from the prohibition industries and into the hands of middle class citizens. We know that cannabis helps people. But we also know from our so-called health care and insurance systems that compassion, helping people, and health, itself, doesn’t carry any real weight when the corporate and governmental big dogs want their money. Perhaps the black market is safer because it keeps the money where someone(s) wants it.
Legislation creating a functional, quality-driven, safe system for medical cannabis providers and patients could have averted this weeks’ raids and spared us another two years of mess. But the Montana legislature refused, and instead passed legislation with all the integrity of a frat boy prank.
In a police state, staying within the law doesn’t keep you safe. In a police state, laws are passed to make sure that the law won’t protect you.