Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cannabis rights in Montana defended in new film

Many Democrats, including this interested party, are deeply troubled by recent statements from the leading contender in our party's nomination primary for governor of Montana, Attorney General Steve Bullock. His choices to turn away from one voter-initiated law and embrace another more suited to his election chances seem to signify an ethical lapse where some feigned moral high ground trumps civil liberties.

From my inbox:



Hello Larry, 
Medical marijuana policy in Montana continues to be a hot topic and a new documentary film, entitled "Code of the West," about the Montana political debate will premiere this month around the state, featuring high profile figures from both sides of the issue — Tom Daubert, founder of Patients & Families United, and Montana Speaker of the House Mike Milburn. 
For "Interested Party" and your coverage of statewide issues, I thought you'd be particularly interested in the film. Below is more information about the documentary, the screening tour and post-screening panel discussions that will be happening in Missoula, Bozeman, Helena and Billings the weeks of May 13 and 20. 
We invite you to attend one of the screenings and panel discussions and continue the discussion on your blog. 
You can also view the film's trailer at www.codeofthewestfilm.com and find more information about Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen, the screening tour, Facebook invitations and the press kit with images from the film.

New Documentary Follows Montana Medical Marijuana Debate


“Code of the West” to screen in four Montana communities


May 1, 2012 — Montana — As Montana medical marijuana business owners face serious federal charges, newly produced documentary film, “Code of the West” — telling the emotional story of the state’s medical marijuana political debate — will screen in four Montana communities this month. Screenings and post-screening panel discussions with high-profile figures from both sides of the political debate are to be held in Missoula, Bozeman, Helena and Billings the weeks of May 13 and 20.


“Code of the West” documents the 2011 Montana Legislature as it debates marijuana regulation and repeal of the Medical Marijuana Initiative that Montana voters passed in 2004. It follows key figures on each side of the debate, including Tom Daubert — longtime lobbyist for environmental and public health-related issues including medical marijuana, who recently reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors after his former business Montana Cannabis was raided by federal agents in March 2011. Daubert’s former colleagues, co-owners of Montana Cannabis, also face federal indictments. Daubert will join the “Code of the West” post-screening panel discussion in Billings on Tuesday, May 22, at the Alberta Bair Theater.


“Medical marijuana is one of the most heated policy issues facing the country today. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, yet the federal government doesn’t recognize any legitimate medical use. The way in which states regulate a drug that is illegal under federal law — a drug that is widely used by adults and teenagers for purposes that are not medical and a drug which has become a powerful symbol in a much wider debate about cultural values — raises the sort of hard questions that drove me to make this film, “said Rebecca Richman Cohen, Emmy Award-nominated filmmaker and director, producer and writer of the film. “While the film follows a story that is unique and specific to Montana, this political debate and its implications are relevant nationwide.”


“Repeal of this law for many is a matter of life and death,” Daubert said in “Code of the West.” “Anything that serves the interests of patients having continuous, reliable access to good, safe, diverse kinds of medicine is something I’ll support.” To demonstrate his resolute support for medical marijuana legalization and how to run a medical marijuana business under Montana law, he became co-owner of Montana Cannabis, later leaving the business to lead the industry’s lobbying efforts.


On the other side of the Montana debate, the documentary follows advocates of the medical marijuana repeal effort, including Cherrie Brady of Safe Communities Safe Kids and Montana Speaker of the House Mike Milburn (R) HD 19 Cascade, who sponsored the bill to repeal the medical marijuana initiative and make all marijuana use again a crime. Speaker Milburn will participate in the film’s panel discussion in Helena on Thursday, May 17, at the Myrna Loy Center, and Cherrie Brady will sit on the Billings post-screening panel.


“Even in the couple of years we’ve had medical marijuana, it has changed the culture of Montana,” said Milburn in the film, “but we are still living under the federal law and that makes it hard to even come up with a legitimate state law.”


While Milburn’s repeal bill passed the Montana Legislature, Governor Brian Schweitzer vetoed the legislation. Later in the legislative session, the governor did sign Senate Bill 423, a reform bill that drastically limits Montana’s medical marijuana industry.


As of March 31, 2012, the Montana Marijuana Program under the Department of Public Health and Human Services reported 11,993 medical marijuana cardholders. Prior to the passage of SB 423, the number of medical marijuana cardholders peaked at 31,522.


Opponents of SB 423 have collected the required number of signatures to put a Montana Medical Marijuana Referendum on the November 6, 2012, ballot. If passed, the measure would repeal SB 423. Also, the Montana Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on May 30 for Montana Cannabis Industry Association v. the State of Montana, a suit that is appealing portions of state District Judge James Reynolds’ ruling on June 30, 2011. That ruling blocked portions of SB 423 from taking effect.


The panelists, speaking immediately after the “Code of the West” screenings, encourage audience questions. Other high-profile panelists include former Congressman Pat Williams, who is moderating the Missoula discussion; Bozeman Deputy Mayor Jeff Krauss; Chris Lindsey, also speaking in Bozeman and Helena and representing the Montana Cannabis Industry Association; and Helena Mayor Jim Smith, in addition to several Montana Democrat and Republican legislators.


“Code of the West” premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March 2012 and is an official selection of the Independent Film Festival Boston 2012.


“Code of the West” screening times, trailer, ticket information and Facebook event links are available at http://www.codeofthewestfilm.com/screenings. The following includes the full tour schedule and a listing of panel discussion participants:


Missoula: Tuesday, May 15 at 7 p.m. at the Wilma Theatre
Participants in the post-screening panel discussion:
o Moderator: former Congressman Pat Williams
o Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen
o Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg
o John Masterson of Montana NORML
o Montana Representative Diane Sands (D) HD 95 Missoula


Bozeman: Wednesday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at the Center for the Arts and Culture
Participants in the post-screening panel discussion:
o Moderator: George Cole, broadcast journalist and former host of Yellowstone Public Radio’s “RealTime”
o Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen
o Bozeman Deputy Mayor Jeff Krauss
o Former Montana Representative Brady Wiseman (D) HD 65 Bozeman
o Retired Gallatin County Sheriff Jim Cashell
o Montana Cannabis Industry Association board member Chris Lindsey


Helena: Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m. at the Myrna Loy Center
Participants in the post-screening panel discussion:
o Moderator: John Adams, USA TODAY correspondent and capitol bureau chief at the Great Falls Tribune
o Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen
o Montana Speaker of the House Mike Milburn (R) HD 19 Cascade
o Montana Representative Pat Noonan (D) HD 73 Ramsay
o Helena Mayor Jim Smith
o Montana Cannabis Industry Association board member Chris Lindsey


Helena: Friday, May 18 at 7 p.m. at the Myrna Loy Center
Post-screening audience Q&A session with Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen


Bozeman: Monday, May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture
Post-screening audience Q&A session with Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen


Billings: Tuesday May 22 at 7 p.m. at the Alberta Bair Theater
Participants in the post-screening panel discussion:
o Moderator: KTVQ-TV Assistant News Director Jay Kohn
o Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen
o Tom Daubert, founder of Patients & Families United
o Cherrie Brady of Safe Communities Safe Kids
o Montana Senator Jeff Essmann (R) SD 28 Billings
o Dr. Ed Stickney, past president of the Montana Medical Association and the Montana Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians


Missoula: Wednesday, May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Wilma Theatre
Post-screening audience Q&A session with Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rebecca Richman Cohen

4 comments:

LK said...

Thought you might enjoy this one.

http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/05/tweet-of-the-day-1.html

larry kurtz said...

If only, LK: exactly.

larry kurtz said...

"A Helena lawyer is asking a federal court judge to throw out the charges against his client, saying that the U.S. Attorney’s office has no right to “veto” Montana voters’ approval of medical marijuana.

Michael Donahoe, a federal defense attorney, said that the federal government “selectively targeted” medical marijuana cultivators and dispensers like his client, Chris Williams, who is a founding member of Montana Cannabis." Helena IR.

Anonymous said...

I went to the Thursday show and it was sweet