Montana Marijuana Initiative Saddles Up [FEATURE]

Provoked by heavy-handed federal raids and prosecutions aimed at medical marijuana providers and prodded on by the Republican-dominated state legislature's virtual repeal-disguised-as-reform of the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law, Montana advocates are now rolling out an initiative campaign for a constitutional amendment that would legalize marijuana in Big Sky County.

Now organized as Montana First, this is largely the same group of activists and supporters who last summer and fall organized the successful signature-gathering campaign to put the IR-124 initiative on the November 2012 ballot. That initiative seeks to undo the legislature's destruction of the state medical marijuana distribution network.

And now they're back for more, and they're cutting to the chase.

Constitutional Initiative No.110 (CI-110) is short and sweet. It would add two sentences to the state constitution: "Adults have the right to responsibly purchase, consume, produce, and possess marijuana, subject to reasonable limitations, regulations, and taxation.  Except for actions that endanger minors, children, or public safety, no criminal offense or penalty of this state shall apply to such activities."

In addition to those two sentences, the actual ballot language informs voters which part of the constitution is to be amended, notes that "federal criminal laws regarding marijuana will not be changed by the passage of this initiative," and specifies that it would go into effect July 1, 2013, if approved by the voters.

Passage of the initiative would not directly repeal the state's marijuana laws, but would render them moot, a legal vestige of a bygone era, like laws requiring that horses in front of bars be tethered to rail posts.

"The personal use of marijuana should never result in criminal penalties," explained Barb Trego, a former deputy reserve sheriff in Lewis & Clark County and the measure's proponent. "Whatever you think about marijuana, it's easy to see that we have higher priorities for our law enforcement resources," she said.

"This measure is as simple as it can be," she continued. "The basic principle is clear as day. After voters pass it, there will be work to do to define limits and regulations. This is an appropriate task for elected leaders after the voters signal their preference to stop arresting and jailing adults for personal use of marijuana."

To qualify for the ballot, campaigners need to gather some 45,000 valid voter signatures, and Montana law also requires that those signatures include 10% of voters in at least 40 of 100 of the state's electoral districts. They have until June 22.

While campaigners can point with pride to the successful signature-gathering campaign of a few months ago, this time around, it is going to be more difficult, for a couple of reasons. First, because this is a constitutional initiative, organizers will have to gather more than double the number of signatures they needed for I-124. Second, because the state's once thriving medical marijuana distribution industry has been decimated by state and federal action, the opportunities for fundraising within the industry have largely evaporated.

"We anticipate a mostly volunteer effort; we just don't see any way to have a paid signature-gathering effort, said Montana First treasurer John Masterson, who is also the founder and head of Montana NORML. "We'd like to be able to pay six or seven zone coordinators, people we can count on to work long hours and oversee the petition effort, and we'd like to raise enough money to retain a consulting firm that specializes in making the ballot."

While relying on volunteer efforts to get an initiative on the ballot is usually a death knell for campaigns in high population states -- in California you need more than 500,000; in Michigan, more than 322,000 -- Montana is a different story. Last year's signature-gathering campaign was almost entirely all-volunteer, and it generated a cadre of nearly a thousand petitioners. That's a relatively large activist base for a state with not quite a million residents.

And then there's Montana itself, with its tradition of rugged individualism and suspicion of government. This year, for example, other initiatives being circulated include one that would allow for jury nullification and one that would  "reserve to the people" -- not the legislature -- the right to amend or repeal initiatives, as well as a legislative initiative that would bar mandated health insurance purchases that is already set for the ballot.

"Montana is highly independent," said Masterson, "and it's not just a right-wing thing. Our Democratic Gov. Schweitzer opposed REAL ID. Montana really values its independence, and these continuous and ongoing federal intrusions have people of all political stripes outraged."

It's hard to say what will happen, said political consultant and communications specialist Kate Chowela, who was deeply involved with both the IR-124 campaign and the Montana Cannabis Industry Association, but who is "not officially tied to anybody" right now.

"We need bigger signature numbers than last year, and we've been taking a real beating here," she said. "It will depend on whether people are beaten down or whether they feel called to stand up in the face of injustice. And this is happening in a very dynamic world with a lot of instability as well, with the state of the economy, Occupy Wall Street, the elections. All of these things bump up against and influence each other."

"The people in Montana found out they were not safe, the businesses weren't safe, the patients weren't safe, even being a legislator isn't safe," Chowela said, referring to the recent news that the DEA was investigating state legislators for supposed links to marijuana distribution conspiracies. "To some extent, this is the citizens coming back and looking for a way to make their position clear and look for a sense of safety that we have lost completely."

"We believe our initiative really solves a big part of the marijuana problem in America," said Masterson. "By eliminating all penalties for responsible adult use, we send a message to the federal government that if you want to prohibit this plant, Montana does not agree and will not participate in your campaign. That's how alcohol Prohibition crumbled. We think that Montanans will see that a regulated marijuana commerce and the right of adults to access marijuana is far preferable to the harm and damage caused by prohibition, to say nothing of the waste of our police resources."

The petitions have been printed up, the volunteers are hitting the pavement, and the clock is ticking down toward June. A legalization initiative has already been approved for the ballot in Washington, and one is awaiting almost certain certification in Colorado. Similar initiative campaigns are already underway in California, Michigan, Missouri, and Oregon, but Montana could be the best bet for making it a legalization initiative trifecta come November.

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Best news in a long time. I

Best news in a long time. I will be signing

FRAUD!!

Without any constructive implications or conclusions of law by me, and supported SOLELY by the language in the statutes of the alleged federal drug laws themselves, I am able to prove to any reasonable thinking person who can tie his or her own shoe, and any guru of Constitution Law; THERE IS NO CONGRESSIONAL ENACTED FEDERAL CRIMINAL STATUE that would PROHIBIT, FORBID, or make it UNLAWFUL for any person at random to buy, sell, use, or abuse, melons, marijuana, cabbage, cocaine, tobacco, alcohol, or controlled substances, whatever the are now or ever will be!

To be precise; for over 35-years, the executive and judicial branch of the government of the United States have operated America's luciferian and moralistic "WAR on DRUGS" under color of  F R A U D !  That is to say, hundreds of thousands of men and women from nearly ever nation on this planet have been arrested, prosecuted, convicted and denied their liberty and freedom for a combined millions of years under color of the most repugnant FRAUD ever perpetrated and conducted by a government against its OWN PEOPLE in the History of the World!  

Can I prove the above statement?  You bet your sweet ass I can, but because I'm 83-years old and a high school drop-out from a little country school (10-class mates) of some 65-years ago without further or formal education, nobody will listen to me!

Don't give up because you are

Don't give up because you are old and uneducated.  I am also old and not really well educated but we can still rattle chains.  Somebody needs to before all our people have a life time criminal record.

EBost

Thank you for the encouragement EBost, I'll never give-up until someone of authority from the legal community or Public Office demonstrates to me that I'm wrong!  I have spent scare dollars to send registered/return receipt requested letters to select Members of all three branches of the government of the United States and select Members of the House and Senate Committee on the Judiciary only to be answered with SILENCE!  "Silence can only be acquainted with FRAUD where there is a legal or moral duty to speak or when an inquiry left unanswered would be intentionally misleading".  (Emphasis Original)

 

U.S.v.Tweel: 559 F2d 297 (1977)

Mr. Philip Smith has a

Mr. Philip Smith has a bully-pulpit to advertise his writings about the federal drug war, yet he has nothing to say about my statements of fact!  WHY?  I will not venture a guess to that question, but what I will do, is invite Mr. Smith to contact me and I will prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" to Mr. Smith and his favorite GURU of Constitution Law that to buy, sell, use, or abuse, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, hallucinates, or 'controlled substances' IS NOT A FEDERAL CRIME!  

If Mr. Smith does not accept this challenge of proof, then I will be left with the impression that Mr. Smith does not want to end the fed's 40-year drug war against any person because he has no other source to write for.

Come on Mr. Smith, I dare you to review my Theory of Constitution Law and Strategy of Argument and then you will be able to declare my work as "patently frivolous and totally without merit" or assist me to advertise my discovery, (for want of a better word), to someone who cares!  Hundreds of thousands of men and women are rotting in federal prisons and carry the scarlet-mark of "ex-con" all across this once Great Nation waiting for your answer Mr. Smith!

My view RE: Mr. Smith goes to Washington

  "The federal CSA of '72 says that a state's scheduling of controlled substances is preeminent and trumps federal scheduling."

21 U.S.C.: Title 21 United States Code (USC ) 

Controlled Substances Act  - Section 903. Application of State law
http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/21cfr/21usc/903.htm

"No provision of this subchapter shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of the Congress to occupy the field in which that provision operates, including criminal penalties, to the exclusion of any State law on the same subject matter which would otherwise be within the authority of the State, unless there is a positive conflict between that provision of this subchapter and that State law so that the two cannot consistently stand together."

Synthetic THC has been allowed for Medicinal use by the Federal Government since 1985.

It was first classified as a Schedule Two Drug, now it has been reduced to a Schedule Three classification.

All any State need do is reduce the classification for the natural plant to be considered on an equal basis with the Synthetic THC currently allowed by the Federal Government. The rules are already in place with regards to possession, consumption and regulation for Controlled Substances Act   Schedule Three.

That way forward would seem to satisfy both citizen and Lawmaker. IMHO

Richard

That may or may not be effective Richard, but why chance it?  Title 21 U.S.C. 885 makes it legally and constitutionally IMPOSSIBLE for federal drug laws to EVER be a federal-crime against "the laws of the United States".  Why?  Unless Our Constitution for self-government confer's legislative jurisdictional authority for Congress to enact a statute that would VOID "WE, the people's" Guaranteed rights in the Original Ten Articles of Amendment to the Constitution, the statute below is self-explanatory in  VIOLATION  of the People's Perpetual Protections Secured in the Constitution and money-back Guarantees of the "due process of law" clauses (5th and 6th Amendment).  I do not argue that the federal drug laws are UN-constitutional, I argue that the federal drug laws are UN-constitutionally applied to any person at random and not registered with the attorney general!

 

Title 21 United States Code (USC)
Controlled Substances Act

From the U.S. Code Online via GPO Access
[www.gpoaccess.gov]
[Laws in effect as of January 3, 2007]
[CITE: 21USC885]

Section 885. Burden of proof; liabilities


(a) Exemptions and exceptions; presumption in simple possession offenses

(1) It shall not be necessary for the United States to negative any exemption or exception set forth in this subchapter in any complaint, information, indictment, or other pleading or in any trial, hearing, or other proceeding under this subchapter, and the burden of going forward with the evidence with respect to any such exemption or exception shall be upon the person claiming its benefit.

The Fifth Amendment (Amendment V) to the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, protects against abuse of government authority in a legal procedure. Its guarantees stem from English common law which traces back to Magna Carta in 1215. For instance, grand juries and the phrase due process (also found in the 14th Amendment) both trace their origin to Magna Carta.

Text

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" (Emphasis by me) The Sixth Amendment (Amendment VI) to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights which sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions. The Supreme Court has applied the protections of this amendment to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence"  (Emphasis by me)  Your move!

WRONG/RIGHT

Richard, you're wrong about the issue, but right about "not here to battle wits or argue"!  I would agree to disagree that the "due process of law" clauses in the 5th and 6th Amendments Guarantee the accused that h/she is "presumed-innocent" until proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" and the Burden of proof is on the government's prosecutor to secure a conviction!  On the other hand, in the case of a material breach of contract and a civil matter of equity, the accused is "presumed-guilty" and "has the burden of going forward with the evidence" to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt", his or her own innocence!   Therefore, the Burden of proof statute, 21 U.S.C. 885, in and of itself proves that a charge of conduct "in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1)" is really a material breach of a "real and binding contractual agreement" where money changed hands between the health care professional and the attorney general of the United States for federal jurisdiction to be federally regulated in the closed commercial system of controlled substances and all others are EXEMPT!!  Moreover, there is no punishment prescribed by Congress for NOT registering with the attorney general and there never can be constitutionally.  For anyone to enter into a contractual agreement is a VOLUNTARY commitment Protected and Secured by the People's Constitution for self-government and a money-back Guarantee by the original Ten Articles of Amendment thereto!  Moreover, to charge any person at random not registered and under contract with the attorney general for conduct in violation of a regulation is tantamount to a state trooper giving a ticket for an "improper left turn" to a pedestrian!

 However "WE" see the issue, I thank you for your comments! Have a nice week-end!

Mr. Philip Smith has a

Mr. Philip Smith has a bully-pulpit to advertise his writings about the federal drug war, yet he has nothing to say about my statements of fact!  WHY?  I will not venture a guess to that question, but what I will do, is invite Mr. Smith to contact me and I will prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" to Mr. Smith and his favorite GURU of Constitution Law that to buy, sell, use, or abuse, cocaine, marijuana, heroin, hallucinates, or 'controlled substances' IS NOT A FEDERAL CRIME!  

If Mr. Smith does not accept this challenge of proof, then I will be left with the impression that Mr. Smith does not want to end the fed's 40-year drug war against any person because he has no other source to write for.

Come on Mr. Smith, I dare you to review my Theory of Constitution Law and Strategy of Argument and then you will be able to declare my work as "patently frivolous and totally without merit" or help me to get the word to someone who cares!  Hundreds of thousands of men and women are rotting in federal prisons and carry the scarlet-mark of "ex-con" all across this once Great Nation waiting for your answer Mr. Smith!

WHERE ARE YOU?

I see that nobody from STOP THE DRUG WAR really wants to STOP THE DRUG WAR!  WHY?  The answer is simple, the phony federal drug war has created hundreds of thousands of 'spin-off' businesses and jobs and nobody wants this goose that laid the golden egg killed!!  The feds claim their drug war is victimless, well, they lied again!! The victims of the drug federal drug war conducted under color of FRAUD are the 140,000 men and women rotting in federal prisons all across this great nation, and the hundreds of thousands of men and women from nearly every nation on this planet that carry the heavy and scarlet burden of "ex-con" on their shoulders.  Unless I hear from someone from the STOP THE DRUG WAR TODAY, you won't have to be troubled with hearing from me again!  "Silence can only be acquainted with FRAUD where there is a legal or moral duty to speak or when an inquiry (or challenge) left unanswered would be intentionally misleading".  (Emphasis Original)  U.S. v. Tweel;  550 F2d 297 (1977)  

Can you just imagine?  If my argument is correct, and I am able, thanks to SILENCE, to assume it is, then hundreds of thousands of businesses and jobs that are directly related to the victims (federal prisoners and parolees) of the phony federal drug war would go belly-up!  To be precise, I see no difference between the military complex who kill American boys and girls for their survival than the federal law enforcement agencies and businesses that thrive and prosper on America's phony federal drug war! If this article survives the censors then nobody reads STOP THE DRUG WAR.com anyway!  You people make me sick!  

"to say nothing of the waste of our police resources."

and to say nothing of the hatred and contempt created and directed towards the police for being willing to enforce bigotry, and towards the government in general. If the cops want more cooperation and respect from the public, they know very well how to get it.

"I see that nobody from STOP THE DRUG WAR really wants"...

"I see that nobody from STOP THE DRUG WAR really wants to STOP THE DRUG WAR! "

Cut it out, Duane, I won't even look at your stuff after reading that pile. 

HONESTY

Thank you HYPOCRISY, at least you are honest and you took the time to comment, that's more than Our servants in public office will do.  I appreciate your candor, and while you offer no proof to the contrary of my issues, your voice, like mine, is just another scream in the wilderness!

RE: " that's more than Our servants in public office will do"

I would like to inform you the Senator Tester has taken note of this conversation and contacted me on this issue so, not ALL Representatives have a deaf ear. Progress will be made yet, anger and hostile words shall never receive credence or consideration. You have to work within the system that is in place, not demand total abolishment.

Take care, Richard Owl Mirror

Good advice!

Richard;I am able to produce hundreds of dollars worth of "return receipts" (PS FORM 3811) trying to NOTICE select members of all three branches of Our government to no avail. A fine of $500 dollars was imposed by the Seventh Circuit of Appeals, and each of the Supreme(s) registered letters were returned unopened, however, I must say, your response is encouraging, therefore, I will take your advice and see what happens!  Later! 

Synopsis

 

Synopsis

Every since Mr. Justice LEWIS F. POWELL of the Burger Supreme Court penned the unanimous opinion in U.S. v. Moore: 46 L. Ed. 2d [email protected] (1975) and the constructive implication that the isolated and truncated-phrase of; “unlawful for any person” (§841(a), Figure One) by its own terms, “reaches any person”, and reached his own conclusion of law that; “§841 was reserved for prosecution of those outside the legitimate distribution chain [and] the severe penalties provided for in §841(b) [are]for those seeking to avoid regulation entirely by not registering”;

 

The executive and judicial branch of the government of the United States have respectively, arrested, prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced, hundreds of thousands of men and women from nearly every nation on this planet to a combined millions of years in federal prison under color of the most repugnant FRAUD ever perpetrated and conducted by a government against its own people in the History of the World!

 

There is not one syllable of languagein the text of the LEGISLATIVE HISTORY of Public Law: 91-513 or the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 itself and more importantly, in the language of the text of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) itself, (Figure One) that even suggests; “the severe penalties provided for in §841(b) [are] for those seeking to avoid regulation entirely by not registering” much less, a Congressionally enacted federal criminal statute that prescribes any punishment for such conduct by any person at random and not registered or under contract with the Attorney General of the United States. 

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