The MTCIA Represents Access

June 28, 2011

 Some have expressed that they believe the word “industry” in this organization’s name doesn’t serve the cause. Some feel it makes it sound as though the group is all about business and money, rather than patients. Also, the fact that the group openly discusses the impact of the new law on Montana jobs also has led some to critique that it makes the group look money-oriented rather than patient-oriented.

It is true that we are stepping forward as a representative of providers of a commodity used by people for relief that requires a physician’s referral. Without patients seeking the therapeutic commodity, cannabis, there would be no providers, no growers, and no storefronts. They only exist because of patients which in economic terms are consumers, or “demand.”

The MTCIA believes that patient-consumers of medical marijuana have the right to pursue their goals as consumers just like any other consumer. In other words, they have the right to pursue safety, the best quality for the best price, and a quality purchasing experience that is comfortable for them whether that means “tone” of the business, location, or nature of the delivery of the service and commodity.

In yet other words, we’re talking about access.

The MTCIA has decided to defend patients’ right to access without asking of them that they expose their private medical situations to the public. Yes, we ask for their support. But we also respect their privacy. Some patients have come forward into the public and to the legislature and they are heroes. But we do not ask this of them because we believe it’s none of anybody’s business what any individual person’s health issues may be. Second, it’s dangerous for them. It’s dangerous for businesses, too, and some have paid a high price for making their services publicly available. But businesses are public entities, which is why through the MTCIA they are stepping forward to fight for the rights of private citizens. 

The MTCIA is fighting for a system that includes the patient-consumer, the cultivator, and the business operator. Without providers, the patients are out of luck. If there were no patients, there would be no providers. We also need regulations, educated elected leaders, and informed communities. Right now, we’re fighting to create a system that works for all those in it, and frankly, even those outside the immediate system but in the extended one.

It is a doctor’s job to care for these citizens, as patients. It is a provider’s job to care for these citizens as patient-consumers. The goal of the MTCIA is to have a unique industry that serves as a new model just as the dot.coms did in their unique way when they came into being.

Many industries have an adversarial relationship with consumers and sacrifice safety and quality for profits. This model of consumer-relations is as tired as the propaganda about cannabis. The lies about cannabis no longer work for our society. Neither does the exploitive relationship between corporations and citizen-consumers (think pharmaceutical companies). This is why the medical marijuana issue is so important and why the resistance is so great from some powerful sectors.

But we can’t solve the problems caused by cannabis lies with more lies.

Because cannabis is a unique product, a blend of commodity and human service, it provides an opportunity to create a new model.

It’s wrong to pretend that people have a right if there’s no reasonable way for those people to exercise their right.

This is why the MTCIA is working to protect not just businesses and not just patients. The MTCIA is fighting for access – whether it’s access to physicians, access to medical cannabis, access to the political process, access to decision-makers, or access to information, just to name a few.

This is the MTICIA commitment.