Diane Sands is a Democratic Legislator from Missoula in the Montana State Legislature. As a lawmaker, she is used to being unpopular at times with
some of her constituents. However, I just read an article in the main newspaper for Montana from Sunday 29th of January 2012 that is one of the most
deplorable stories I have read in quite some time.
As it is in many states, a controlled substance (considered illegal in other states, and the federal governement) is legal in Montana. It has been for
several years. A proposition was voted on by the citizens a few years ago that requested overwhelmingly it be made legal for certain patients. She was
apparently one of the representatives who voted to allow it. She has also recently made a statement that the federal government should de-criminalize
the use of it, and leave it up to the states to decide. Much like wolves were recently de-listed from the endangered species list thus basically
putting regulation concerning them into the hands of the states.
I had to give that background, so we all understand here what has just happened. Sunday's paper featured an article where it was made clear she,
along with some other lawmakers from Montana have been under recent investigation by the DEA for their stance on the issue, up to and including the
possibility of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Billings Gazette Link to Story
A possible witness in a federal drug investigation was asked whether Sands might be part of a conspiracy to sell medical marijuana. The questions came
from Drug Enforcement Administration agents from Billings who were investigating medical marijuana businesses, and Sands learned about the inquiry
from the witness' attorney.
"So now, if you're a state legislator who has been working on medical marijuana laws, you are somehow part of a conspiracy," said Sands, who
represents House District 95 in Missoula and works as development director for the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. "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."
Sands isn't the only one with concerns. At least one other legislator declined comment regarding DEA questions about the legislator's duties out of
concern over "additional harassment."
She has apparently been in contact with the ACLU here who also consulted an outside attorney about this. Neither Rep. Sands nor the ACLU are really
worried about actual federal charges, since she has done nothing wrong. All she did was be very vocal about something the federal government was
The problem that concerns me, and should concern everyone else here, is the US Government using it's agencies and resources to investigate state
lawmakers who have opposite views from federal laws. She wasn't discussing overthrowing the US Government. She wasn't speaking out about the current
administration even. All she did was help craft state laws which were highly supported by citizens of the state.
This has happened before and Rep. Sands made mention of it. In the 1940's, 1950's and 60's it was considered almost treasonous to speak badly about
the US as a citizen. Much less as a lawmaker. The US House of Representatives started a committee called
The House Un-American Activities Committee.
Anyone subpoenaed by this
committee basically had no recourse to anything, and were usually blacklisted. Another similar tactic was used by
Senator Joseph McCarthy.
McCarthy basically saw a Communist behind every door, lurking in the shadows and anywhere else, INCLUDING other politicians. Even going so far as
accusing members of then president Harry Truman. People were investigated, civil rights trampled on, political careers as well as basically anyone
else to cross either this House committee or McCarthy were done for. The FBI under J. Edgar Hoover investigated everyone from presidents on down.
Montana State Representative Sands is comparing these DEA actions to those more archaic investigations, but with a new twist. Federal investigations
of State lawmakers just because they don't agree with current federal laws or help craft laws that have different opinions of issues than federal
ones is very very wrong. And if it is happening with her, and other members who refused comment to the paper about this, it is definitely happening
with everyday citizens.
I would like to remind everyone, this discussion in this thread is about the DEA and federal agencies investigating state lawmakers just because they
are outspoken against federal laws. This discussion can not
be about what those laws are or what anyone's opinion of those laws are. At no
point can we violate the ATS Terms and Conditions.
I was given special permission from the ATS powers that be to even bring this topic up. I had to state some facts which were relevant to this
discussion and thread at the start, but they will not be discussed in open discussion. We have been given special permission to to even skirt this
issue here. You can be sure the ATS mods and gods are watching this discussion very closely.
It could well affect our ability as a community to discuss sensitive issues in the future based on responses here. I will report any violations I see
also to the mods if they don't catch them first. I feel very very strongly that the DEA investigating members of the Montana State Legislature for
laws they made or even comments they made is so blatant a violation of our constitution it isn't even funny. And as I said before, if they are
looking into lawmakers and they know it..then they most certainly are looking into US citizens illegally.
And please....let's remember to stay on topic and prove how responsible we are as members of ATS with this thread.