On Attending a Portion of Missoula’s 9th Annual Crime Prevention Conference

by William Skink

Missoula hosted the 9th annual Crime Prevention Conference this week at the University. I had a chance to catch some of it today, including the first half of a presentation about drug culture trends put on by Officer Galloway, who you can read up on here.

I had mixed feelings about the portion of the presentation I observed because it focused primarily on the evolution of methods used to get stoned on the weed, and these new methods were depicted in the most negative way to cast the darkest shadow on the “train coming down the tracks” to destroy youth vis a vis successful legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington.

The problem is Officer Galloway isn’t wrong about the dangers he was talking about because we’re not just talking about pot anymore. We’re talking about hash oil, wax, shatter, and other names that refer to a whole new product line of cannabis extracts and concentrates that blow the traditional THC levels (15%) of cannabis out of the water (some extracts are as high as 92%). Not only have there been hospitalizations from over-use, leading to panic attacks, hallucinations and other behavior more commonly seen from using stimulants and psychedelics, but there are also people literally blowing themselves up trying to extract the THC with butane, which we saw here in Missoula last October.

The new methods of using various types of vaporizers have created even more problems, like reducing odor, making drugs harder to detect. And because legal products, like nicotine oils, are used in some of these devices, anyone trying to determine if drugs are being used are going to have a very difficult time.

And when I say drugs, I’m not just talking about cannabis and its derivative products. Other synthetics are getting thrown into the mix, like Spice, bath-salts, and other awful chemical concoctions that may be MDMA, or may be Meth.

Officer Galloway made it clear: advocates for legalizing cannabis can no longer say no one has died from using marijuana. And you better believe that when the fear rises, nuances of methodology will be lost to the clamor of keeping our kids safe.

Another byproduct of this fear will be focusing on the immediate threat instead of trying to understand the big picture, which includes Mexican drug kingpins escaping from prison, the absurd slap on the wrist HSBC got for laundering drug profits, and that odd correlation between America invading Afghanistan and the resurgence of cheap, plentiful heroin flooding the global market.

I didn’t expect Officer Galloway to go there in his presentation, so I left because I was afraid I would.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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6 Responses to On Attending a Portion of Missoula’s 9th Annual Crime Prevention Conference

  1. petetalbot says:

    This is somewhat off topic and I hate taking cues from the “Magic City” but this looks like it’s working:
    Now Missoula isn’t Billings. I imagine the majority of downtown inebriation is college-age kids on weekend nights. Still, we have our fair share of of “serial inebriates.” I know this stuff interests you.

    • Billings has some of the infrastructure we are lacking, they have had stronger leadership, and there was more interest in going after the retail enablers. when some of our enablers in Missoula were given the opportunity to increase public safety by removing certain products, they chose making money over safety, and that’s too bad. Missoula has a serious drinking problem and it’s across the socio-economic spectrum. up until now there has only been interest in criminalizing the behavior of poor drunks with stupid ordinances that didn’t work. I’m hopeful that is slowly changing, but the power of business to try and protect their profits has so far kept much progress from happening in addressing the over-serving of booze downtown, be it to panhandlers or college kids.

  2. Greg Strandberg says:

    Shame the Missoula Police Department can’t focus on substantive issues, like their problems with meth and alcohol.

    When I asked the Sheriff’s Department panel what substances our jail inmate were in for, they said alcohol, meth and prescriptions.

    Why is the Missoula Police Department pushing this fearmongering onto us when they know it’s not an issue?

    Things like this don’t build back the trust that was lost in 2000.

    • I only caught part of the presentation, so I’m assuming they touched on other substances. and it’s not the Missoula Police Department pushing anything, this conference was put on by the Montana Board of Crime Control. the speaker I referenced isn’t MPD, he’s from Boise.

      this helpful information can be found by following the links I provided. so instead of just spouting off without all the information, Greg, try educating yourself first.

  3. You guys make it sound like Missoula is a wasteland crawling with drunks and addicts, unlike other places? Every town not in Utah has this problem, and the associated violence that booze engenders. But I remember too that Alexis deToqueville, who wrote Democracy in America back in the 1830’s, observed then that this country was usually drunk most evenings. We have a rich tradition. (Ben Franklin started his day with beer, and drank all day, as did most of his fellows. The water was not to be trusted.)

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