Pubdate: Wed, 05 Feb 2014
Source: Missoulian (MT)
Copyright: 2014 Missoulian
Authors: Cherrie Brady, Laura Lee Needham and Susan Smith
Note: Cherrie Brady, Laura Lee Needham and Susan Smith are members of
Safe Community Safe Kids who write from Billings.


Safe Community Safe Kids was formed by a group of parents out of
concern for the unbridled spread of medical marijuana in Montana and
its effect on our children, families and community. With the help from
parents and others across the state, we were instrumental in passing
legislation on this issue.

In 2011, the Montana Legislature passed a bill to repeal the 2004
voters' initiative on medical marijuana. When Gov. Brian Schweitzer
vetoed this repeal bill, the Legislature unanimously passed another
bill, Senate Bill 423. The governor refused to sign or veto this bill
and because of his inaction the bill automatically became law.

Senate Bill 423 was designed to eliminate the growing medical
marijuana industry and turn back to what the voters thought they were
voting for, which was allowing patients with debilitating medical
conditions to grow and consume marijuana for their own limited use
under medical supervision. This was confirmed when the voters would
not support a ballot initiative created by the medical marijuana
industry proponents to overturn the legislative action. Montana has
been the only state that we are aware of whose legislature passed a
law to stop the industry that drives medical marijuana.

As parents we feel outraged with President Barack Obama's recent
cavalier statement in regard to marijuana. Obama stated, "As has been
well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit
and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a
young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don't think it
is more dangerous than alcohol."

Obama's dismissive approach to marijuana, alcohol and tobacco is
sending out approval to our youth to make choices that are detrimental
to their health, safety and welfare. We feel it is harmful and
confusing to our youth for the leader of our country to suggest that
the use of marijuana, alcohol or tobacco is just a bad habit or vice.
His action undermines our ability to teach responsible and healthy
behavior to our children.

As parents, we are the ones who have the responsibility to determine
and teach what is best for our children. It is a poor decision for the
president to undercut what parents across the nation are trying to
teach children. Children should be able to look up to the leader of
our country for inspiration. Obama's example is frightening. He is
performing very poorly as the leader of our nation on this issue.

It is our duty as citizens to hold the government accountable for
their actions. Therefore we ask that Obama swiftly retract this
statement and apologize to parents and children across the nation.

Cherrie Brady, Laura Lee Needham and Susan Smith are members of Safe
Community Safe Kids who write from Billings.
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