Montana: US Drug Enforcement Administration Targets State Lawmaker Over Her Advocacy For Medical Marijuana

Missoula, MT: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is investigating a Montana state lawmaker over whether statements she made during the 2011 legislative session in favor of regulating the production and distribution of medical cannabis under state law may constitute conspiracy to violate federal anti-drug laws.

The lawmaker, Rep. Diane Sands — a Democrat from Billings, Montana — served as the chairwoman of a 2011 interim legislative committee that sought to clarify statewide rules regulating the use of medicinal cannabis, which has been legal in the state since 2004.

"Can you say McCarthy?" Rep. Sands told The Missoulian newspaper. "This sounds like stuff from the House Un-American Activities Committee and Joe McCarthy. So once you talk about medical marijuana in reasonable terms, you’re on some sort of list of possible conspirators. … It’s ridiculous, of course, but it’s also threatening to think that the federal government is willing to use its influence and try to chill discussion about this subject."

Neither the DEA nor the U.S. Attorney’s Office would respond to inquiries from The Missoulian regarding why Rep. Sands’ name came up in the federal government’s investigation.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or visit: