And what a day yesterday.
Let's start there, with the medical marijuana initiative in Montana.
There was a spate of reporting on the medical marijuana initiative, all from the AP and shuttled to the various papers.
Yeah, there was no difference in the reporting at all, which points to both the ineptitude and the laziness of our Montana media types.
The article was called Medical marijuana backers launch new Montana ballot measure and you can read it on the AP…saving yourself one of your monthly articles from the sleeping beauties, er…our state newspapers.
The initiative is called I-182 and it needs 24,175 signatures in 34 house districts by June 17.
Here are some images from the press conference that was held in a Capitol office:
So the initiative is out of the gate and it should be collecting signatures soon.
There are currently 24 field staff going around to do that. (I saw two today).
Will it be enough?
Well, M&R Strategic Services told us that they guarantee this initiative will be on the ballot...although I've since heard that's being backtracked a bit.
That’s great…but it also sends the message that I don’t really need to do anything. After all, you’re doing all the work.
That’s what they’re being paid for so I expect this will just sail through and I can vote on it in November.
Although I have to say, from what I saw of the medical gatherers today...well, let's just say they'll have to pick up their game.
Despite that, as more and more political types come out in support of the medical initiative, it’s likely it’ll pass in November as well.
Just yesterday Montana Public Radio reported that Democratic Attorney General candidate Larry Jent came out in support of medical marijuana.
That’s a huge shift, as Jent voted against medical marijuana in 2011. Clearly, the effort to point that out this cycle have made a difference.
Before I was going to leave that one blank. Now I’ll vote for Jent and I’ll tell others to as well.
Yeah, I know a lot of the Democratic bigwigs in the state think that’s meaningless, but I have 700 to 1,000 people a day reading this site so I’m sure it’ll influence a few voters.
So we have the medical initiative that’s guaranteed to pass, the paid signature gatherers doing the work.
What can you do to help out?
Your best bet lies in working with the legalization folks. Currently, you can’t even gather signatures for the medical initiative as MTCIA has chosen not to give you access to it.
From what I’ve heard, I-182 signature gatherers will have to use numbered initiative pages that are signed in and out with the head of the organization. You can’t download them. On top of this you have to do a training session and get a training affidavit notarized.
So lots of hoops.
Why not skip all that bullshit and just collect signatures to help legalize marijuana outright?
After all, anyone can do that - no one is restricted like with the medical initiative.
That’s what CI-115 and I-178 are for and all over Montana today people were out in force to get those initiatives signed.
Here’s a look at some of the events that went on, and might still be going on:
So that’s Butte, Missoula and Great Falls. I’m sure other things were happening in Bozeman and Billings but I don’t know what they were.
As usual, this Facebook group is the place to find out.
Here in Missoula I went to the Mellow Mood event and we’ll discuss that next.
Missoula’s 420 Events for Marijuana Legalization
Actually, the Cannabus had arrived around 11 AM and they were doing really well.
Mainly, they had a table and signs. Those go a long way in attracting attention.
Shortly after I arrived some of the medical signature gatherers showed up.
They have blue shirts and their initiative sheets are blue as well.
I talked with them and they signed and then they headed up to the university.
They should have stayed, for things really heated up. Here are some images of the event.
All told, I ended up getting 8 sheets for I-178 to tax and regulate marijuana in Montana and 11 sheets for CI-115 to legalize marijuana in Montana.
That comes out to about 90 people that signed both, and that’s not counting what the good folks on the Cannabus managed to get.
See, we both had clipboards at the table and oftentimes 4 or 5 of them would be in play, getting signed.
I’d take the sheets from my clipboards when they filled up and they’d take theirs.
When you look at it like that, I bet we got about 200 people to sign today.
I didn’t have much luck after 6 PM when I headed down to the Wilma for the free screening of the Cheech and Chong movie.
I got there at about 6:30 and, although people were still in line, few signed. Then they all went inside about 5 minutes after I got there.
I got about 5 to 10 signatures from people passing by and then around 7 PM I went home.
I have to point out that the Bozeman 420 event doesn’t get going until 9 PM so there’s plenty of time for that one.
Aside from that, things are going to get real busy here over the next 6 to 8 weeks.
First of all, we have the primary coming up on June 7. Absentee ballots go out May 9 and 25% of the state will vote that week, maybe the next.
Because of this, people like me who are candidates for the 2017 Legislature will be going out many nights, knocking on doors and talking with voters.
Then, after the primary we’ll see which candidates are most likely going to be in the legislature next go-round.
Because of this we know who to lobby and agencies know who to get draft legislation done by (although much of that is done).
After the primary election we’ll still have 10 days to gather signatures for all the initiatives.
It’ll be tight and we’ll need help.
I hope I can get a lot of help for Ravalli, Mineral, Lake, Sanders and maybe even a bit of Powell and Granite Counties too.
Where is the best place to get signatures if I want to drive up there one afternoon?
Just pull into the gas station on the exit or the nearest supermarket and set up my table?
I hope people can let me know, and let others know too. It’ll take a group effort to get these initiatives on the ballot.
When I say ‘these initiatives’ I mean medical too.
I get the sense at times that people think I’m anti-medical initiative.
No, I’ll happily sign it but I worry that others will have problems doing that. I also worry that the signature gatherers they have won't be enough.
Currently, when I point out that no one knows where to sign the medical initiative I’m told that I’m working against the medical initiative.
I sorry, but that attitude simply won’t work.
I suppose I could be seen as working against medical because I'm looking at the MTCIA organization and its efforts with M&R and I'm giving my honest opinions about what they're doing.
These opinions can be construed as criticism, and my failure to get a job with M&R as a signature gatherer can be seen as sour grapes and the reason for my 'negativity.'
Fine, you can argue that. I'll still look at what the medical initiative is doing, how the process is working, and I'll talk about that. I expect a lot of people won't like that, but is that an issue with me or with them?
Right now I totally get that the medical initiative wants to view all opinions as criticism - they're worried. They're worried that they have less than 2 months to collect signatures and they're worried they won't get the job done. They're worried that the signatures they do get won't be valid, hence all the effort for training.
That's great and totally justified. But when someone makes observations, perhaps those working with medical and in support of medical need to look at those and think: 'What can we be doing better? Is this working?'
I hope they do that and I also hope they give us transparency. Personally, I feel their PR is failing...at least those that need to sign. They got on the airwaves yesterday but if you go to their site you can't even see the initiative. Why?
Oh well. I wish them the best of luck but honestly, my main focus is on legalization.
There is no money or organization behind the legalization initiative, just hard working volunteers. Medical doesn't really need my help but legalization does.
I was happy to give it today.
I’m glad I was able to help out and I look forward to getting even more signatures in the future.