THE COUNTDOWN BEGINS
For those of you who were following the progress of the ballot initiative effort by Steve Zabawa to ban marijuana in Montana, there is good news. Mr. Zabawa’s ballot initiative only garnered 3600 of the 24,000 signatures required to qualify for the ballot. The ballot initiative has failed. Mr. Zabawa has not given up on his misguided effort to deprive sick Montanans of legally-acquired medical marijuana. He has promised to take his initiative to the 2015 legislature.
In past postings and at our statewide meeting in Butte, I informed our members of the necessity of garnering community support for the medical marijuana industry. We are now at the point where the rubber meets the road. We are scarcely 6 months away from the 2015 legislature. There is a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done in preparation for the legislature. It is imperative that we get a workable bill passed during this legislative session if we are to survive as an industry. Our court-ordered injunction that allows providers to continue providing medicine to their cardholders is only temporary.
In that vane, MTCIA has contracted the services of Dulaney Collins to assist with our legislative efforts. Dulaney is a former legislative aide from Virginia with extensive experience in Community Education & Outreach, Legislative Advocacy and Strategic Planning. MTCIA has assigned Dulaney some very specific and challenging tasks. Among those tasks are the following duties:
1.Identify and partner with potential supporters which include Veterans, Seniors and Legislators followed by AIDS, CANCER, LUPUS, MS, PTSD and other likely organizations with an interest in providing a medical alternative.
2. Reach out to Montana’s Association of Naturopaths, Nurses, Physicians Rehabilitative & Mental Health Therapists.
3. Establish statewide town hall meetings specifically, in VFW, Elks, Eagles and Senior Center Locations.
4. Develop and coordinate messaging by maximizing the use of media outlets.
These are the essential elements required to get a workable medical marijuana bill passed in the upcoming legislature. There are no shortcuts on the path to success. Every organization whom successfully lobbied their legislature has traveled this same path. This effort will not be free or cheap. Ms. Collins has committed to working a minimum of 20 hours per week at the rate of $50 per hour. This effort will require a minimum of $4000 per month until the end of December.
We are asking our supporters to “double down” on their monthly donations through the legislative session. There will, without doubt, be unforeseen expenses arising prior to the legislature. If we are expected to put forth a formidable and professional effort on your behalf, we must be assured that we will have the resources to continue that effort. On behalf of the staff of MTCIA, I would like to extend my thanks to those whom have contributed faithfully to our efforts. You are the reason we keep up the fight.
Yours in Solidarity,