A small group of patients gathered last week outside the Mazurek building in Helena. Tayln Lang of Stevensville, Kati Wetch of Billings, and David Lewis of Clinton shared their stories with the media, and hand delivered over 1,000+ signatures to the office of Attorney General, Tim Fox, urging him to delay the implementation of SB 423.
Tayln, David and Kati stood up for every Montana medical marijuana patient and bravely shared their hearts – their words and stories make you ‘feel’ when you hear them and remind you why we must stick together, especially now.
Every supporter of I-182 has a story about why this initiative is important to you. The common thread between all of us is that we all believe I-182 MUST WIN this November. The initiative is the way forward and the way to make sure that patients have access to their medicine and ensures that Montana has a workable and accountable medical marijuana law.
On August 31st, less than two weeks away, SB 423 will take effect. Patients had of course hoped that yesterday’s court ruling would have had a different outcome—one that would have allowed them to maintain safe and legal access their medicine. With Judge Reynold’s ruling, there will be almost three months of lag time between the implementation of SB 423 and Election Day, when the question of medical marijuana will go directly to the people of Montana. We must vote yes on 182.
Without the delay of SB 423, patients will feel undeserved pain because their medicine has been taken away. There are over 12,000 patients in the state of Montana, all who deserve safe and legal access to their medicine. Thousands of Montanans will soon be left behind with no access to the medicine that brings them respite from their ailments. All are suffering from cancer, severe chronic pain and other debilitating illnesses such as: Glaucoma, epilepsy, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other severe medical conditions. Some of them have been admitted to hospice care. These patients are relying on their medicine for pain management, and for many patients, medical marijuana is the only medicine that brings relief.
The compassionate thing to do would have been to allow patients to continue to access their medicine safely. The responsible thing to do would have been to delay SB 423, and allow Montanans to vote yes on I-182 on November 8th before taking any further action.
When we qualified I-182 for the ballot in mid-July, we were so excited to have collected signatures from 42,000 Montanans.
Can you imagine if each of those 42,000 supporters signed their name again to stand with Bob Ream and support the delay of SB 423?
Bob Ream wrote to Attorney General for the state of Montana, Tim Fox, asking that he delays the implementation of SB 423. Read Bob’s words HERE and Sign the online petition HERE – it’s fast and easy to do online! Make sure you share too – we need 1,000 + signatures by August 24th!
Can you imagine if each of those 42,000 people gave just $5 to support I-182 and make sure that the campaign has the resources necessary to win in November?
That would total upwards of $200,000!
Those small donations from supporters would enable us to educate voters, mobilize support, and run a robust and successful campaign all across Montana.
To put it bluntly, we need your help and we need your signature again.
We never doubted that the people of Montana were with us and supported an accountable, responsible medical marijuana law. But our timeline was short. We knew we would have to work smart and fast.
And, we made it! I-182 will be on the November ballot. The heroes in this effort are the citizens of Montana, like Bob Ream, a retired wildlife-biology professor and former state representative, who signed the petition to get I-182 on the ballot.
Ream knows firsthand the importance of access to medical marijuana. Not only does he support saying ‘yes on I-182,’but just last week, he wrote a letter to Attorney General Tim Fox describing his recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and his difficulty sleeping. He urged Fox to withdraw his objections to halting the August 31 implementation of SB 423, which will leave Montana patients without access to their medicine. Ream said that he has “never been a pot-smoker,” but that medical marijuana is the only thing that has helped him get some sleep and that “it is not possible to fight cancer and endure chemotherapy without sleep.”
Did you know that Montana was only the eighth state in the nation to pass a medical marijuana law? As one of the earliest adopters, Montanans made it clear (with 62% of the vote) that the right to safe and effective medicine should be extended to our fellow citizens suffering from debilitating illnesses.
64% of Montanans voted for a medical marijuana program in 2004. In November 2016, we will vote again.
MONTANANS want an accountable and responsible medical marijuana program.
YOU want an accountable and responsible medical marijuana program.
So, what can YOU do to make certain that I-182 passes this November?
I sighed and smiled so big when all of the signatures were handed in to county elections offices on June 17 by 5pm. Today, I am smiling again. This morning at 9am, the announcement we have all been anticipating and waiting for finally arrived. I-182 will be on the ballot this November!
You signed and you put I-182 on the ballot this November!
Montanans have spoken again, as we did back in 2004. With raised voices and pens in hands, Montanans made it clear that we want a workable, accountable and responsible medical marijuana law. Now, Montanans will have the opportunity to protect patients’ access to medical marijuana with a ‘YES on 182’ vote in the fall.
Saying thank you seems quite a simple phrase in this moment. There were many people who stepped up and made sure that the news we received today was positive. Thank you to all of the amazing volunteers, providers, and staff that made today possible. Together, we made certain that I-182 will see the November ballot.
When Friday, June 17 at 5pm rolled around, I could feel the weight lift. There was a collective sigh felt here at the Yes on 182 campaign and across the state. More than 42,000 Montana voters signed the petitions that were submitted by the June 17 deadline, showing that there is strong support for a responsible, accountable medical marijuana law. After weeks of gathering signatures and pushing forward, we finished strong and now, we celebrate this victory with the understanding that we must sustain momentum and continue pushing forward.
Throughout the campaign, one of the common phrases among staff was that ‘this effort will take all of us.’ Every single day, going out in the rain, snow or heat of the blazing sun to talk with community members and ask for their signature on the petition for I-182. The community was buzzing with excitement, nervousness and anticipation.
The August 31 effective date of SB 423, and the imminent closures of dispensaries that it brings, looms large. The threat is very real that Montanans suffering from debilitating illnesses and who rely on medical marijuana for their treatment will lose access to their medicine. That threat and what it means to our friends and loved ones fuels this campaign. Knowing that we must do something about it, keeps us going through all the challenges. That sense of purpose pushed us to do something historic – collect more than 42,000 signatures in less than 60 days.
With about just four weeks left to collect signatures, Montana Citizens for I-182 is building momentum for the home stretch. We have gathered over 18,000 signatures, halfway to our goal of 36,000 signatures. The response from the public has been positive, confirming that Montanans want a responsible and accountable medical marijuana law.
The petition is in the hands of providers across the state so if you have not already signed, please check out the website for locations where you can go sign.
The field team has grown and strengthened in capacity since the inception of the campaign, with 27 team members and over 100 trained volunteers across Montana. We are out in the field every day gathering signatures, interfacing with community members and getting the message out about I-182.
After five years of legal wrangling, on February 25, the Montana Supreme Court ruled to allow the medical marijuana law passed by the 2011 legislature to go into near full effect. On Monday this week, the Court announced that SB 423 will be the law of the land on August 31. As a result, access to medical marijuana will be wiped out for the vast majority of those in the program. Thousands of Montanans with cancer, seizure-related diseases, in hospice, and more will lose their access to a remedy that aids them in managing debilitating conditions and symptoms.
This is not what Montanans want. Montana needs a new medical marijuana law. Initiative 182 (I-182) is that law. I-182 creates an accountable and responsible regulatory system for Montana’s medical marijuana program.