Elementary Schoolkids Given Anti-Medical Pot Propaganda


Graphic: KAJ18

​A controversial anti-medical marijuana flyer forced upon elementary school students in Billings, Montana, is causing an uproar.

About 300 Newman Elementary School students went home with the propagandistic flyer Tuesday afternoon. The flyer asks people to “take action” against the medical marijuana business, reports KAJ18.
With the headline “Medical Marijuana Crisis,” the bright-yellow flyers call marijuana a “gateway drug” and urge parents to “take back control” by contacting local officials, attending public meetings or volunteering time, reports the Billings Gazette.
“Our community and our children are at risk,” the flyers read in capital letters.
The inaccurate and often alarmist information on the flyers is not credited to any source, and an email address listed at the bottom does not work.

Photo: Billings Gazette
The medical marijuana flyer sent home with elementary students is full of inaccuracies and falsehoods. (click to enlarge)

​The wording of the flyer is identical to that on a website of a group called “Safe Community Safe Kids” that urges Montana residents to sign a petition to repeal the state’s 2004 Medical Marijuana Act.
Emotions are already running high in Billings — where two medical marijuana businesses were firebombed last month — and many patient advocates are concerned, both by the escalation of hateful rhetoric by anti-pot forces, and by the fact that they are willing to stoop so low as to distribute deliberate misinformation and fear-mongering among children.
“At what point does the distribution of false information about medical marijuana become hate speech?” one activist asked. “At what point does lying about medical marijuana, and calling for students and parents to ‘take action’ against it become an incitement to violence?”
Billings school Superintendent Jack Copps said the incident was a “mistake.” According to Copps, he was aware that a “parent coalition” was putting together an “information flyer” to distribute to students.
Copps said that once he saw the flyer and its call to “act against” medical marijuana, he sent an email to all 22 principals in the Billings school system, asking them not to give the flyers out.
But the principal of Newman Elementary claims he didn’t get the email in time.
Superintendent Copps said he does not believe political flyers should be sent out to children in elementary schools.
“We cannot send things home of a political nature, Copps said. “This, though it may have been well-intentioned, was clearly over the line.
Meanwhile, local businesses are angry over the entire incident.
“I don’t know where it’s going to stop,” said Doug Medina Sr., who owns Green Cross of Montana, a patient collective.
“I don’t know when they’re going to end this, but it’s harming people that really need this type of help with medicine,” Medina said. “And everyone’s scared right now and to me, it’s a witch hunt.”
The flyer is full of false information, according to Medina, who wants to emphasize that businesses do net sell marijuana to children.
“It’s gone too far when they take it into our children’s lives,” said Colleen Eatman, whose daughter was frightened by the flyer. “A crisis in a kid’s eyes is really large. To explain this to a nine-year-old is difficult to do.”
Superintendent Copps said that school officials are “concerned” about the medical marijuana controversy and hopes that both sides can come together to maintain a safe community for kids.