The Anti-Jobs Montana GOP

By CFS

First, I would just like to say that House Majority Leader,Tom McGillvray R-Billings, is a fucking idiot. In the Missoulian story from Friday about HB 161, which would fully repeal medical marijuana, Rep. McGillvray is quoted as saying:

“Do we want the drug cartels of Mexico to be now in place in Montana?” he asked. “I think not. Do we want drug wars in our cities and towns and communities? I think not. Do we want our schools infiltrated with this harmful, addictive drug? I think not. Our culture is being corrupted. Our children are being exploited.”

That is ostensibly the reason he gives for repealing a voter mandate. Excuse me Mr. Speaker, but its prohibition that causes ruthless, bloodthirsty cartels from taking over a market.

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Supposedly there is an essay circulating among Republican legislators taking aim at medical marijuana for increasing crime, DUI instances, and generally putting everyone in the state in mortal danger. Luckily, someone has already put in the time to put togther a great set of links debunking the “marijuana is a scourge on our state” mentality:

The author alleges that Montana’s medical marijuana program has led to increased “criminal involvement… intoxicated driving crashes and fatalities… use of marijuana by their children… lost productivity by their state’s workforce… unsafe working conditions… amount of drugs consumed on a regular basis by each user… and the need for more psychiatric and addictive disease treatment.”

None of these allegations are true, according to Montana state statistics. Since medical marijuana passed in 2004 to 2009, Montana’s crime index has declined 15.8%, the fewest people died in auto fatalities, teenage marijuana use dropped 28.7%, gross domestic product outpaced national averages, workplace injuries declined, workplace fatalities dropped, overall marijuana use fell, and fewer people attended rehab with marijuana as their “primary substance”.

Secondly, with the attempt to repeal medical marijuana and also to remove tax incentives for clean energy infrastructure the Republicans in Helena are actively working to put locally owned Montana small businesses out of business.

According to the latest legislative report on medical marijuana from October of 2010 there exists in Montana 4,463 caregivers. Thats 4,463 locally owned small businesses and probably close to 6,000 jobs that the Montana GOP is trying to kill. Add in the various gardening supplies and services that these caregivers spend money on and your talking about another few hundred jobs that exist thanks in part to this budding ;) Montana industry. Just take a look within the pages of the Missoula Indy or walk into the Green Light and one can see the economic impact that medical marijuana has on our local economies. As an old story from the Billings Gazette puts it:

“Garden supply companies, real estate agents, insurance providers, irrigation experts, attorneys, Web developers and security companies are among the many mainstream businesses that are getting a fiscal high from the fast-growing industry”

Or this from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

The reason medical marijuana is having a positive impact on the state’s economy, Gingery said, is that lots of patients used to buy marijuana on the black market. “None of that money stayed in the state,” Gingery said. “All the money now used for licensed caregivers stays in the state … (instead of being carried) to California in a duffel bag.”

Gingery estimates that Montana growers have spent $17 million on start-up costs alone for lights, nutrients, soils, odor abatement gear, security, lawyers and insurance. With 14 percent of the state’s caregivers operating Gallatin County, that translates into more than $2 million invested by local growers

The same can be said of the clean energy incentives that could be repealed. Investing in Montana’s home grown clean energy industry adds jobs and makes Montana more self-reliant. And when your talking about the small jobs – like installing residential or commercial solar panels – those are jobs done by local contractors. The building industry is perhaps the industry – other than forestry – that took the biggest hit from the recession here in Montana and now Montana Republicans want to hit Montana contractors with more job losses.

It seems we’re all going to be waiting for awhile before Teapublican rhetoric actually matches up with Teapublican deeds.


  1. I don’t think so CFS –

    I’m one of the 62% of voters who voted for MM –

    I voted for it because I had visions of actual patients, with real problems, like glaucoma getting MM for medicinal purposes – not so every wannabe stoner in the State can go around fried 24/7/365.

    In Billings they sent a guy over to one of those travelling Doctors to get a ‘recommend’ for MM –

    He told the Dr. that he like to drink booze, and after he stopped drinking he had severe hangovers, and that he needed something for the pain. The Dr. said “We can’t have that”, took his money and they issued him a card.

    In Judge Knisleys City court, a 19 year old girl was in there with a ticket for her second marijuana possession charge. She pulled out her card, and showed it to the Judge, and proclaimed that she got it the day after getting the ticket. The Judge asked her what medical problem she had, and she told the Judge “Chronic Pain”

    That’s not what I voted for – and I hope it hits a ballot again, with some more restrictive language so it can be fixed.

    • carfreestupidity

      Then the legislature should setup a way to regulate the market, rather than repeal it with the intent of “starting over.”. Because you know that once it’s repealed, we’ll never hear about a fix from Teapublicans.

    • CharleyCarp

      I would hazard a guess that there’s a huge bipartisan majority for serious revision — which would have some, but not all of the economic impact in the post — and much smaller, much less bipartisan, much more culture-war-inspired support for outright prohibition. And doing the hard work of balancing interests and figuring out the best way to modify the law to rein in abuses is exactly what we pay the legislature to do. Not culture warrior posturing — fine for a minority party, who doesn’t get/want to spend time governing, but not at all the point of governance.

    • Matt (notS)

      So, Eric, the obvious answer is it to repeal it, rather than write a law to modify current statute?

      Take double the time to repeal the current law, then theoretically write a new law? Next session perhaps? 2 years from now?

      And how about those people that truly could use it – People with glaucoma, MS or cancer… they can wait, right?

      I do agree – the lack of regulation has brought upon some frivolous use. But seems a dunce move to take away a solution for some people who are actually in need, rather than design a law to regulate this drug’s use.

      Eric, don’t you think writing a law to regulate is better than outright appeal?

      • JC

        “the lack of regulation has brought upon some frivolous use.”

        Well, no. That “frivolous use” was always there. Those who frolic in their frivolous pastimes just found a way to abuse a system created for those with legitimate medical needs. I think the number of people who started using marijuana “frivolously” because they could get a green card is minimal.

        And by doing so, have put the ability for those with legitimate needs to access their medications at risk.

        • Matt (notS)

          We’re saying the same thing differently.
          Of course frivolous use has always been there.

          If the intent is to have a law that helps people that are truly suffering, then modify the statute. If the intent is to legalize it for all to use, find some other avenue. Not this one.

      • Yes Matt – I think re-regulating it is the answer – but I also think it should be a voter initiative, just like the original bill was.

        • So sans a voter initiative, you support keeping everything the way it is? Thus opposing this bill, thus agreeing with CFS? Therefore, your initial post on the matter is rather silly, is it not?

          • Think about it Polish Wolf – voters (like me) voted it in. It was too vague. The legislature needs to erase this law, and we need to vote on a better one.

            I apologize for not explaining it better to you – I keep forgeting the number of pseudointellectuals who frequent the liberal blogs –

            • no problem eric. if your party wants to abolish a voter’s initiative that 62% of montanans approved then go ahead.

              montana will do it again, eventually. only next time it will be to legalize it for adults so that it is regulated by the state just like cigarettes,liquor, wine and beer.

              no doctors. no phony cannabis farmacies. just legalized and sold like a pack of cigs wherever it is licensed. the sponsors will be lining up to sign on. no more money going to out of state drug cartels in mexico to buy weapons. just cold hard cash for the local indoor farmers who grow it and for every retail store in the state that currently sells cigarettes and beer and wine.

              i reckon small businesses would support it – don’t you? and the state would be able to start a very well funded public insurance option for all montanans with the proceeds of the taxes and fees.

              • Never happen – and you should realize that too, since CALIFORNIA of all places had it on the ballot last time and it was rejected.

                America is the land of the free, not the land of the stoned – LOL

              • Prop 19 was defeated because it gave too much power to the state to control strains.

              • time is on our side eric….

                all of nature trends toward progress. it’s inevitable for the young shall prevail. the old shall perish.

                meanwhile, enjoy your single malt scotch while you can.

  2. Craig Moore

    As to why certain bills are first and what’s happening with economy and jobs bills Rep. Mike Miller writes: http://electriccityweblog.com/?p=12125&cpage=1#comment-54776

    I am not defending all the social bills but I can offer an explanation or two why they are more prominent in the news than the (lack of) bills that address the economy and jobs.

    Bills typically are drafted in the order they are received – we each get the 1st 5 bills drafted before any beyond 5 get drafted. Therefore, all these social bills that are the pets of individual legislators were drafted first when they were requested in November right after the election. And they get heard first. These general type bills also have to be heard by committee and the respective chamber before the bill transmittal date in late Feb. Revenue type bills have a much longer timeframe within which to be heard – this certainly does not make them a lower legislative priority.

    A lot of the revenue bills and bills that it is hoped will lay the foundation for a stronger jobs market once the economy (hopefully) turns up will be heard beginning after transmittal.

    The House has heard the bill to try to lower workers comp rates. It is currently in the Appropriations Committee. The bill to address the Business Equipment Tax is still a work in progress. The big issue here is to not cut (much) revenue to the already cash strapped counties. These types of bills are much more complex and require a lot of collaboration to finalize and that does not generally happen until the session begins and we all gather in Helena – hence they get heard later in the session.

    My advice to people is be patient – the bills are coming – after all, this is only the 37th legislative day and we do have 90 days to finalize a structurally balanced budget.

  3. of course the answer is to legalize ding weed. you would think that those freedom loving individual liberty defenders like the gop would know that……

    if you are an adult there is no reason it should not be as legally available to use as alcohol. but i guess we will have to wait until a bunch more old dinosaur brains die out before that happens.

    for the record, i can’t use it. but it burns my hide to listen to adults telling other adults what they can and cannot do. prohibition only forces the money into criminal hands. legalization as in holland and sweden eliminates the criminals.

    i predict in twenty years it will be legal everywhere anyway. polls show a steady increase in voters who are for legalization with each passing year. anything else but legalization and regulation like alcohol is just more government nanny state intrusion into every adult’s personal ability to choose for themselves.

  4. gray cat

    As a Montana who has been in Chronic Pain for 20 years and has obtained a MM card for the past 3 years, I felt I must reply to your comments. The majority of Montanans want regulation of Medical Marjiuana, not repeal. Did Rep. Mike Milburn contact patients, law enforcement, garden supply stores, caregivers, ect. when crafting his bill to repeal? No, only Law Enforcement, and the Billings Misinformation Womens Group was accepted into this little circle. The fact that Republicans run for election on the motto of “keeping government out of our lives”, sure have an example of “double speak” on their hands. The reason why Rep. Milburn did not consult anyone else when drafting his bill? So as not to Legitimize the industry. When I first received my card for Chronic Pain and two other categories…there was literally no information on how to get started growing. The state legislature has had TWO sessions to regulate this industry. The Republicans had many chances to pass regulation to stop goofballs like Jason Christ. They chose to pander and ponder and plan for repeal instead. If you are in Helena, take a drive by Ace Hardware (Rockhand), actually – go inside and check out the amazing products. My tomatoes this year were absolutely the best ever, since using the products for growing M.M. (Tomatoes and Marjiuna are very similiar in growing needs) If they haven’t been helped in this recession by Medical Marijuana growers, you can call me a greasy liar.
    On another note, Repulicans are complaining about the high numbers of card holders. Right now, Dr.s are being much more careful. The 17 year old girl getting a card for menstral pain will not be able to renew. (Blame Jason Christ for her ability to get it in the first place.) The 18 year old boy who wants to renew his card for Chronic Pain will get ultra scrutinized and likely will not get his card renewed.
    As far Drug Cartells in Montana…..Strange bedfellows- Drug Dealers are in agreement with the Republicans. They have lost their revenue and customers! They want MM Industry to die a certain death. Who would have known that Rabid Right wing Republicans have something in common with Drug Dealers!!!!! (The theory that Drug Dealers have become the majority of MM caregivers in Montana is not based on any fact.)
    As far as the bills going forward in the Legislature besides Repeal, HB68 is the ONLY bill in which all members of the MM issues have come to the table. It regulates and it creates barriers to those who would misuse. I have no problem with having 2 Dr’s sign off on my MM use. Those who are on poverty’s door will not be able to afford two Dr. visits.




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