A dedicated marijuana policy reform advocate who was instrumental to enacting Montana’s medical marijuana law has become the latest victim of Pres. Obama’s heartless war on medical marijuana. Tom Daubert, a friend and colleague, will plead guilty to maintaining a drug-involved premises — a medical marijuana dispensary called Montana Cannabis.
Tom has seen what can happen to people who don’t have access to the only medicine that gives them relief. In 2004, he worked hand-in-hand with patients to educate voters and editorial boards to make medical marijuana legal under state law. One of the most vocal patients, Robin Prosser, had an excruciating lupus-like illness and was allergic to prescription medications. She went on a 60-day hunger strike for medical marijuana in 2002. Months before Election Day, she attempted suicide because she didn’t have access to the one medicine that worked for her.
After the initiative passed, Robin found a caregiver who shipped her the strain of medical marijuana she needed from another part of the state. The DEA intercepted a package, and the caregiver became too afraid to send more marijuana. No other strain worked for Robin, and she couldn’t take the pain any more. In 2007, she took her own life. Tom led a memorial and started the Robin Prosser Memorial Patients’ Legal Defense Fund.
In 2008, it looked like there was finally hope for patients and those who helped them. During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama said federal resources wouldn’t be used to circumvent state medical marijuana laws. His Department of Justice advised federal agents not to target those in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state medical marijuana laws. Attorney General Eric Holder testified to Congress that threatening dispensaries in Colorado that complied with state law would not be consistent with that advice.
So Tom and hundreds of other people across the country took the president at his word and set about providing patients with safe access to medical marijuana. Tom’s dispensary did all it could to be transparent, responsible, and above board. It invited legislators and local law enforcement in for tours, including while being filmed for the documentary Code of the West. Never in any of these tours did state and local law enforcement leaders express anything but admiration and support for the ways Tom’s approach surpassed both the spirit and letter of the state law and was in full and clear compliance and conformance with Montana community standards. Tom also advocated for the state legislature to regulate and register dispensaries.
Then, without warning, the federal government raided Montana Cannabis and more than 20 other medical marijuana-related sites the same day a state Senate committee voted down a bill to repeal the voter-enacted medical marijuana law Tom helped enact. Some other Montana providers have pled guilty or are fighting charges. Others have been raided, prosecuted, and/or threatened by the federal government in California, Washington, and Michigan for the crime of providing a medicine to sick people … a medicine that unlike Tylenol and Vicodin has never caused a fatal overdose. Meanwhile, in July, the DEA rejected a petition to reschedule marijuana, maintaining the offensive fiction that marijuana has no “currently accepted medical use” in the United States despite numerous studies to the contrary and thousands of physicians recommending medical marijuana to more than half a million patients.
If you would like the federal government stop to burying its head in the sand, driving desperate patients to suicide, and making criminals out of those who dare to help them, please write Pres. Obama and your members of Congress. If his offensive against medical marijuana patients and providers will affect your willingness to donate to, vote for, or volunteer for the president, please let his campaign know.