By John Cook, Stevensville
Shame on you, Senator Shockley!
Your recent opinion titled, ‘Medical Marijuana Court Order Troubling’, really does trouble me. For here, not only have you missed the whole point of the ruling… medical marijuana is different than both alcohol and tobacco and the people of Montana stated so when they found it legal for folks that had legitimate medical reasons to grow, sell, and use marijuana for medical purposes! Unfortunately, not only do you not understand the point of the ruling… you don’t even seem to understand what the role of a legislator in America was intended to be.
In your letter, you keep talking about what might be the repercussions if the order is left in tact. Those problems you speak of are things such as Montana citizens making a profit from their labor, or growing more plants of a particular species than you might like. Disassociate these activities from the word ‘marijuana’, and both these activities are legitimate American activities to most folks’ way of thinking.
Of course, probably realizing this argument is weak, you also mention in your letter things more ethereal. Things such as what might happen if the federal government was to move in and raid a grower, distributor or user of medical marijuana. Unfortunately, I got the distinct feeling you have more concern for the problems of a federal law enforcement officer… than you do for a Montana citizen suffering from cancer, MS, glaucoma, arthritis, or any number of other debilitating diseases which, because of your legislation, would be unable to get something that makes them feel better or aids in their recovery!
For some reason, your whole argument reminds me of the type of rationale that inspired a movie entitled ‘Reefer Madness’, which was released in 1936 and came in vogue sometime around the early 60’s… in which they tried to depict marijuana as something that would turn an ordinary person into a crazed monster. While indeed a ‘cult classic’, few actually believed that story line any more than they did ‘Land of the Living Dead’, or Senate Bill 423.
Here, as I see it, is the problem with your argument, Senator Shockley. First, as a representative in our country, your duties are much simpler than you’d like to make them. You see, in America, our system of law and government was established with one over-riding premise. A premise so important our founding fathers felt it was the most basic of all truths and deserved to be placed in the front of their rationale for breaking away from the government of Great Britain. That is quite simply that ‘we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ They went on to state in this same paper – the Declaration of Independence – that not only was it alright for folks to be against any government that tried to impede these basic rights, rather, it was their duty to oppose such a government!
Unfortunately, as I, and the courts see it, this is one of those cases where our government is trying to break this most basic of American ideals! For, there is little wrong with growing plants, selling product, or taking something that makes you feel better when you are in pain. It’s pretty much the American way. Yet, our government (in this case the Montana legislature) is willing to pass laws that will allow them to break into the homes of Montana citizens, seize lawful property, and imprison people who are merely attempting to do what all citizens of the United States are entitled, and expected, to do… pursue life, liberty and happiness!
Yes, I believe in the constitution, Senator Shockley. I also believe in your right to think however you like… even if you do care more about the feelings of a federal law enforcement officer than those of a sick or dying human being. What I do not tolerate is folks like you, or anyone else, thinking they somehow have the right to tell me, or anyone else, what to do, just because it’s different than what they might believe, or want to do. The last I checked, this is still America, and you aren’t allowed to do that here! So, as I said, earlier, shame on you, Senator Shockley!