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As a citizen of a progressive city like Missoula, it pains me to drive down Brooks and see an oversize billboard urging citizens to further prohibit access to medical marijuana in Montana. In fairness, the billboard is a gift from Safe Montana, an anti-medical marijuana movement stationed in Billings, and does not necessarily reflect the feelings of Missoulians.

The best way to describe the core messages of this organization is to say that had it been possible for those behind the “Reefer Madness” propaganda campaign of the 1930s to create a website, it would look exactly like the one currently maintained by Safe Montana. In the world they live in, marijuana leads to a lifetime addiction, conjures up thoughts of murder and threatens the stability of the community. Despite all extant information, Safe Montana believes that marijuana imperils youth and fractures the foundations of social decency.

The organization nobly wants to keep Montanans safe from what they deem the “Colorado Craziness” caused by marijuana. By “craziness” they do not mean a billion-dollar industry that creates new jobs and small business opportunity while lessening drug crime, easing the burden of law enforcement and cutting costs associated with the overcrowding of prisons.

No, by “craziness” they are referring to the madness that exists within their disproven propaganda and disingenuous journalism. One instance of their dishonesty is so brazen one wonders what the benefit of even doing it could possibly be. Under a link titled “Colorado Sees Increase in Homicides Motivated by Weed,” Safe Montana takes you to an article about a Billings man who was killed during a methamphetamine transaction.

The truth is that a vote for medical marijuana is a vote for common sense and a rejection of the political propaganda campaigns that seek to scare us into misunderstanding complex social issues. The reality is that medical marijuana was a valuable therapeutic in American medicine from the 1840s to 1937, when special interests like Safe Montana ran a successful propaganda campaign to have it prohibited. From 1937 to today, Americans, by and large, have based their opinions of marijuana on wild propaganda that has been long discredited. A vote for medical marijuana, then, is a step towards correcting the mistakes of the past and a pivot towards a more responsible politics that accepts reason and science.

Instead of regurgitating the cringe-inducing marijuana murder tales of the 1930s, Safe Montana should quote physicians of the 19th century, who used cannabis safely and effectively to treat tetanus, epileptic seizures, a variety of gynecological issues, depression and anxiety, neuralgia, rheumatoid arthritis, cholera, diarrhea, migraines, and a host of everyday aches and pains.

Unlike opium, the substance currently driving an American drug epidemic, cannabis did not lead to dependency. Yet, instead of focusing their attention on the opioid epidemic, where their energy might yield better results, Safe Montana argues that marijuana leads to a “loss of inclination to make healthy life choices.” While maybe true for some users, claims like this are ultimately unscientific and have never been seriously observed. Those physicians who studied cannabis 175 years ago never found evidence, for example, that cannabis had a “cascading effect of negativity throughout an individual’s life, including marked deterioration of interpersonal skills, family problems, trouble with self-reliance, employment and work stability.”

Every Montanan should vote in favor of medical marijuana for a simple reason: it is important to reject those who want to suppress reasonable dialogue and replace it with worn-out propaganda rejected by a majority of Americans. The issue has less to do with marijuana than it does about living in a society that is not ruled by misinformation or governed by those who act on emotions and according to conspiracy theories. While there is much room for debate on these issues, the science is in on medical marijuana and it is time to move on and accept facts, even when they clash with our personal prejudices. So, a vote for medical marijuana is a vote for rational dialogue, a signal that we will not reward those who want to deceive us into moving backwards, limiting our economic potential and filling our jails with more innocent people.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: Approving Medical Marijuana Is Common Sense
Author: Clinton Lawson
Contact: (406) 523-5240
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Website: Missoulian