During the Legislative session, I suggested that opponents of medical marijuana were using scare tactics to push through their moral crusade to ban the use of the drug. Now, I’m annoyed as anyone when someone decides it’s his constitutional right to smoke a smelly, vile weed at a Ray LaMontagne concert (cough, Missoula), but it’s hard to believe that these crusaders were doing anything other than lying in their effort to appeal to their base.
Remember lurid tales of teenagers engaging in prostitution to buy marijuana? Increased violence crime and even gang violence?
Well, as was so often the case during the 2011 session, the Montana GOP was about as far from the truth as James Knox is from an ethical business model. Crime has been going down in Montana–and the the latest statistics show that crime went down again in 2010, as Melissa Anderson reports:
A new report from the Montana Board of Crime Control indicates that violent crime and property crime are on the decline in the Treasure State.
That trend is a mirror of national figures; FBI figures for 2010 show that violent crimes nationwide are down by 5.5%, and property crimes declined 2.8% percent from 2009.
In Montana over the past 33 years, those numbers vary, but are still on the way down. Violent crimes went down about 7% since 2009.
Surely, though, marijuana use increased, as Republican legislators claimed? Certainly not, as Charles Johnson reports:
The survey also notes that the number of high-schoolers who have used marijuana in their lifetime is down from 42.2 percent in 2009 to 39.2 percent in 2011.
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey polled 4,148 high school students in 46 randomly selected Montana high schools in February. It’s compiled from a 93-item questionnaire developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A charitable interpretation of the claims made by legislators would be that they were misinformed–and on far too many issues, they certainly were. It seems evident, however, that once again, Montana Republicans were not only willing to overturn the will of the voters, but to lie shamelessly as they did it.