Montana Special Election: Rob Quist’s Marijuana Use is NORML


Screen Shot 2017-05-19 at 11.44.51 AMOne of the latest developments in the Montana Congressional special election is the news that Democratic candidate Rob Quist had previously consumed marijuana during the course of his life. Certain media outlets in the state have attempted to make a lot of hay out of this issue, hoping to shift a hotly contested election. I think Quist’s opponents may be surprised by the reaction this “revelation” will evoke from most Montana residents, and Americans across the spectrum. That reaction can largely be summed up as:

“So what?”

First, I’d like to clarify that NORML finds it an affront to personal privacy that these outlets are leaking the medical history of an individual without their consent. That in and of itself is unacceptable. However, there is no grand controversy in a story about an American smoking marijuana. Recent surveys have shown approximately half of all Americans have tried using marijuana at least once during their lives and 60% of Americans believe the adult use of marijuana should be legalized and regulated. Eight states have already legalized the possession and retail sale of marijuana with more expect to join them over the next few years. Thirty states have approved state medical marijuana laws, including Montana.

With legalization now policy in these states, all of the rhetoric and bluster from the “reefer madness” era has been proven false. All reliable science has demonstrated that marijuana is not a gateway to harder drug use, as youth use rates have either slightly declined or stayed the same after the implementation of legalization; highway traffic fatalities did not spike; and millions of dollars in tax revenue are now going to the state to support important social programs instead of into the pockets of illicit drug cartels.

Marijuana prohibition is a failed policy. It disproportionately impacts people of color and other marginalized communities, fills our courts and jails with nonviolent offenders, engenders disrespect for the law and law enforcement, and diverts limited resources that can be better spent combating violent crime. Rob Quist’s past marijuana use doesn’t make him a pariah, it makes him an average American. Members of the press, particularly the Washington Free Beacon, should not be in the business of criminalizing or stigmatizing responsible adults who chose to consume a product that is objectively safer than currently legal ones such as tobacco and alcohol.

Calling for an end to the disastrous policy that is our nation’s prohibition on marijuana and replacing it with the fiscally and socially responsible policy of legalization and regulation isn’t something that should or will scare voters away. Pursuing these sensible proposals is both good policy and good politics. I think that Quist’s opponents will soon realize the attempts to use one’s past marijuana consumption and support for legalization against them not only puts them out of step with the majority of Montana residents, but puts them firmly on the wrong side of history as well.

8 thoughts

  1. Donate here:

    And support Beto Orourke for Texas Senate against Ted Cruz here:

    Beto was previously endorsed by NORML during his bid for Representative as he supports marijuana legalization. Plus we’d get rid of Cruz! Bonus!

    Soooo… let me get this straight; The GOP-Koch-Mercer-Adelson-Paulsen prohibitionist team is so far up their own echo-chambered @$$ now that they ran an “attack” ad on Quist for smoking weed!? …In a state that just voted to AMEND and IMPROVE their medical marijuana program?! Why dont they just FUND his campaign?!

    Who doesnt know that the DOJ’s informants are the crime bosses while ordinary marijuana consumers get the shaft?

    This makes about as much sense and hubris as Trump appointing Rosenstein for Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein is vice-chair of the Violent and Organized Crime Subcommittee and a member of the Subcommittees on White Collar Crime, Sentencing Issues and Cyber/Intellectual Property Crime. He also serves on the Attorney General’s Anti-Gang Coordination Committee. Trumps ties to organized crime preceed his deals with the Russians going back to the Gambino crime family when he contracted (and enslaved Polish immigrants) building the Trump towers. And Trump appointed him.


    1. Clarifiction: Beto was endorsed by NORML PAC. NORML and the NORML Foundation are non for profit.

  2. Right on. So what!? So what if Vermont’s governor signs the legislation to legalize.

    I love Vermont. Whenever Vermont legalizes I will love Vermont even more, so much more that I will visit more and spend more money more frequently there because all the other states in NE do not have adult recreational up and running yet. That’s me and how many others?

    Do you think Vermont could use the money, Governor?

  3. Folks need places to consume cannabis, not just tourists if your landlord doesn’t allow it or you don’t want to do it at home for whatever reason, kids, neighbors, whatever.

    I just don’t know why I should drop the big bucks to go to Colorado or Nevada or wherever when if I’m going to save for like years to make the trip I might as well go to Amsterdam. I don’t want to be venturing out into the Nevada desert or get lost on some deserted road just to avoid not getting busted because public use is banned. Some kind of cheap flophouse where people are allowed might be helpful in solving the permanently homeless stoners who came as tourists or looking for a job they didn’t get and just stayed.

    Vermont could be the state on the East Coast that basically prevents the need for weed smuggling over the border when Canada legalizes. No need to fire up all of the old booze smuggling roots again.

  4. So there you have it, folks. A Republican who loses his shit and physically attacks a journalist, and is charged with assault, versus a Democrat who smoked pot.

    This seems to be a microcosm of America today.

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