In Montana, an Economic Boon Faces Repeal Effort

Yet more proof that Republicans hate small businesses and entrepreneurship.  Along with supporting big government acting like a nanny state when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/us/06marijuana.html?scp=2&sq=medical%20marijuana&st=cse

By KIRK JOHNSON
Published: March 5, 2011

BOZEMAN, Mont. — With his electrician’s tool belt and company logo cap, Rick Schmidt looks every bit the small-business owner he in fact is. That he often reeks of marijuana these days … well, it is just part of the job, he said.

“I went on a service call the other day — walked in and a guy said to me, ‘What have you been smoking?’ ” said Mr. Schmidt, 39.

For Gallatin Electric, a six-employee company founded by Mr. Schmidt’s father, Richard, as for other businesses in this corner of south-central Montana, medical marijuana has been central to surviving hard times as the construction industry and the second-home market collapsed. Not the smoking of it, the growing of it or even the selling of it, but the fully legal, taxable revenues being collected from the industry’s new, emerging class of entrepreneurs. Three of the four electricians on staff at Gallatin, Mr. Schmidt said, are there only because of the work building indoor marijuana factories.

Questions about who really benefits from medical marijuana are now gripping Montana. In the Legislature, a resurgent Republican majority elected last fall is leading a drive to repeal the six-year-old voter-approved statute permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes, which opponents argue is promoting recreational use and crime.

If repeal forces succeed — the House last month voted strongly for repeal, and the Senate is now considering it — Montana would be the first to recant among the 15 states and the District of Columbia that have such laws.

In Bozeman, a college and tourism town north of Yellowstone National Park, construction jobs and tax collections dried up just as the marijuana business was blossoming; residents and politicians here say the interconnection of economics and legal drugs would be much more complicated to undo.

Economic ripples or entanglements extend in every direction, business people like the Schmidts say — gardening supply companies where marijuana growers are buying equipment, mainstream bakeries that are contracting for pot-laced pastries, and even the state’s biggest utility, NorthWestern Energy, which is seeing a surge in electricity use by the new factories. Medical marijuana, measured by numbers of patients, has roughly quadrupled in Montana in the last year.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/us/06marijuana.html?scp=2&sq=medical%20marijuana&st=cse

Why do the Republicans hate freedom and small businesses?

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