by Travis Mateer
Earlier this week I wrote about a Montana Democrat, Kimberly Dudik, who pivoted from losing the AG race to running a new public policy institute called the Public Policy Institute of the Rockies. This effort isn’t just some public service to better educate the electorate on issues like child marriage. No, it’s a money making opportunity, pimping access to state lawmakers for a price:
The screenshot above shows the different options I had for joining the “special edition” of Dudik’s Tuesday Talks series, so I paid 5 bucks (and some change) so I could get the inside scoop from people like this:
I am VERY HAPPY I spent the money for this SPECIAL access to Dudik’s political colleagues because I learned some interesting things that I can now share with RD readers. Here are some of my takeaways.
Montana Cannabis providers will be protected from BIG WEED for 18 months, so they better have their shit together by January 1st, 2022, if they want to benefit from the early Montana edge they will have. I also learned that Clearwater Credit Union has a special banking program that providers must apply for because of all the work it takes doing local banking as Big Federal Brother still considers weed a dangerous drug.
Also, judge Leslie Halligan is on the board of Clearwater, which I found interesting (I’m glad some panelists have a propensity for name-dropping).
Speaking of money, legal expungement for past cannabis-related charges is going to be a great opportunity for lawyers to make money. To emphasize this opportunity, Senator Ellie Boldman promoted a fellow lawyer’s cleverly priced $420 expungement legal package. So, if you have the money, you can hire this guy to expunge your record.
The other major takeaway I got from this 5 dollar Zoom meeting is that money drives all the sausage making in Helena. What does that mean for consumers of Cannabis? Well, if you’re consuming recreational marijuana, you’ll be paying a 23% tax rate vs. medical weed, which is taxed at just 4%.
This financial incentive has put chronic pain patients in the crosshairs of lawmakers. One suggestion that came from a panelist to medical patients is KEEP YOUR CARD because it’s not entirely clear what will happen to patients who use Cannabis instead of opiates to manage chronic pain. I think one of the problems is how few doctors in Montana were actually making referrals to use Cannabis for chronic pain, leading to suspicion about the legitimacy of the referrals, but that’s speculation on my part.
Another aspect of this meeting is the political spin that emanated from the DEMOCRAT lawmakers. I note the political affiliation in ALL CAPS to highlight the political ideology and ONLY political ideology represented. This allowed the political panelists to frame what happened in Helena as greedy Republicans who just wanted the tax money vs noble Democrats fighting the good fight for the people.
To ensure future benefit of this political framing, most of the panelists claimed THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER against conservative culture warriors who hate stoners and will eventually be coming (so they say) for new products being sold in the Cannabis market, like the various forms of hippie crack (concentrates).
By using fear to minimize critical thinking, Democrats hope to keep their dwindling Montana supporters in psychological cages (oops, I mean FACILITIES) where they will assume anything bad that happens at the state level with regards to Marijuana policy will be the result of selfish, tax-cut-obsessed Republicans.
The reality, as usual, is more complicated than the simple binaries peddled by self-serving political creatures. So be weary of who you are being told your enemies are, because from my perspective there are some wolves out there who like to pretend to be social justice shepherds.
Thanks for reading!