SoDakNORML.org

The South Dakota Affiliate of the 
National Organization for the Reform 
(Repeal) of Marijuana Laws

SoDakNORML home | email SoDakNORML

SoDakNORML
345 Jennings Ave
Hot Springs SD 57747
605-745-3613

 

82,402 Arrests for Cannabis Possession in South Dakota since 1998

One arrest every 90 minutes, day and night

For what?

 

The campaign described below might be the most effective thing SoDakNORML has ever done. Please do what you can to spread the word. Circulate this page on Facebook. Like us on Facebook. Email us (newland@rapidcity.com, if the link doesn't work) and get on our mailing list ("SoDakNORML mail list" in subject line). And send us a few $ for stamps.

Tell every South Dakota legislator once a week from now until January that you want them to stop wasting resources by jailing cannabis users.
Put your name at the bottom of our Letters to Legislators! Here's how...
Email us, (newland@rapidcity.com, if the link doesn't work) giving us permission to add your name as a cosigner to our Letters to Legislators. Tell us how to list your name in the following format:
Example: Jennifer Smith, Sioux Falls, concerned citizen (or cancer survivor, or combat veteran, or whatever, in 1-3 short words).
See examples below the first letter in the right-hand column below. That's it. Do it now. If this is your first time emailing us, you will have to respond to a spam filter challenge, just one time.
Check out the list as it stands today.
 

SoDakNORML issues a postage stamp. You can mail a letter with this stamp.

Send us $5. We'll send you a letter with this stamp on it (or in it, your choice). Get more info.

 

This column describes the "Letters to Legislators" campaign by means of copies of a series of eblasts to a mailing list, apprising its members of our intent, and asking for help. The most recent eblasts are at the top.

Briefly, the campaign hopes to send as many as 17 letters (one a week) to each of South Dakota's 105 legislators before the 2013 Legislative Session starts in Pierre in January.

 

The letters below have been mailed (most-recently listed first) to every So. Dak. legislator.

We hope that soon, no South Dakota legislator may claim that he or she does not understand that cannabis Prohibition creates a world of evil, while achieving the exact opposite of what it claims as goals.

We believe we can accurately portray at least a couple of the goals of cannabis Prohibition as 1) to reduce the rate of cannabis use and 2) to advance rather than reduce the age of first cannabis use.

Current policy guarantees the opposite will happen.


Letter to Legislators 14

   

On Dec. 23, 2012, we sent the following letter to every So. Dak. legislator.

Dec. 23, 2012

Sen. South Dakotan
PO Box 21122
Anywhere SD 57000

Greetings, Sen. Dakotan;

You have a one-in-four chance of seeing a likeness of the image above on the front of the envelope in which this letter arrived. Those are better odds than a person accused of a violation of SDCL 22-42-6 can expect to receive “justice” in a South Dakota court.

About two weeks ago, the U.S. Dept. of Justice announced it had gone into business with the drug cartels. Instead of prosecuting the executives of HSBC Bank for KNOWINGLY helping the cartels launder $9 billion, the DOJ just asked for its share, which it pegged at $2 billion. It also asked the bank to defer bonuses to the executives for five years. Oh, ouch.

The DOJ has also indirectly asked the South Dakota Legislature to continue to help prop up the profits of the drug cartels by maintaining its unspeakably cruel and incredibly useless laws regarding cannabis possession. That way, the feds can simply continue to grab money arbitrarily from the people hidden behind corporate veils who do business with the cartels. For power-mad politicians, that is apparently a better solution than legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis. Of course, legalizing, taxing and regulating would decrease the chances that children will be introduced to cannabis in the fourth grade, and that is obviously not what the politicians want.

Having now sent 14 letters to the members of the South Dakota Legislature documenting the damage caused by 22-42-6, and having received exactly no replies of encouragement for our position, nor any expression of doubt at our assertions, DakNORML must assume that every member of the 2013 Legislature believes that arresting a person every 90 minutes for a violation of 22-42-6 somehow benefits South Dakotans. There is no evidence that it benefits anyone except those whose jobs rely on the continuation of this carnage.

In pursuit of a policy that makes sense to no one, except maybe a politician, South Dakota will continue to strip average insignificant individuals, who don't work for huge international banks, of their possessions and put them in prison for harmless transactions that can be tallied in tens of dollars instead of billions.

Maybe, however, there is enough of a shred of conscience and compassion within at least one of the recipients of this letter that discussion can be held regarding the addition of the following few words to South Dakota law. Or will “justice” continue to be just an empty word in South Dakota?

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to  allow a medical necessity to be used as a defense in certain cases involving the possession or use of marijuana. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA: 
     Section  1.  Any person arrested or prosecuted for the possession or use of marijuana may submit as a defense, a medical necessity, if:
             (1)    The person has a medical condition recognized by a competent medical authority as a condition for which marijuana is a palliative; or
             (2)    The person has a recommendation by a competent medical authority for the use of marijuana for a medical condition.
     Section  2.  A medical necessity defense pursuant to this Act may, at the discretion of the accused, include:
............ (1) Expert testimony;
............(2) A recommendation by a competent medical authority; and 
............(3)Testimony by other persons with a similar medical condition.

Very best regards,

Costas Hercules, M.D., Rapid City, concerned senior citizen
Bob Newland, Hermosa, businessman
Jesse Grimm, Hot Springs, combat veteran
Dennis Bridenstine, Lead, paraplegic
E. J. GreyBuffalo, Sisseton, hepatitis C sufferer
Ken Santema, Aberdeen, veteran, business owner
Kim Miller, Mitchell, concerned citizen
Brian Knutson, Rapid City, businessman
Loy Allen, Hermosa, manufacturer
Bea White, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative
Judy Stromer, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative
Cecilia Gray, Rapid City, cancer survivor
Vincent Stark, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Matt Mogen, Aberdeen, SD Human Services
Shane Garry, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Zane Holcomb, Buffalo, rancher
Maureen Tracy, Aberdeen, criminal justice specialist
Jeremy Briggs, Rapid City, real estate developer
Steve Norquist, Hill City, contractor
Phillip Smith, Huron, journalist
Andrea Stark, Whitewood, mother
Bradley Morgan, Central City, spinal cord injury
Thomas Diggins, Rapid City, PennCo Asst Public Dfndr
Wendy Roth, Black Hawk, concerned citizen
Jeff Hudson, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Kimberly Landsman, Rapid City, health professional
Tom Gerber, Sturgis, management consultant
Tim Holmgren, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Chris Opitz, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Charles Nauman, Volin, filmmaker & author
Sanford Ader, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Liz Holler, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Jerry Bloomer, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Susanne Bloomer, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Eugene Huckins, Sturgis, concerned citizen
Wayne Gilbert, Rapid City, legal researcher
C.R. Cundy, Custer, herbal remedy researcher
Cameon Jacobson, Pharm. D., Lead, MS sufferer
Josh Houy, Rapid City, attorney
Cathy Roberts, Piedmont, nurse
Zachary Novotny, Spearfish, concerned citizen
Michael Sanborn, Rapid City, businessman
Jared Peterson, Spearfish, online media specialist
Gwen Caldwell, Black Hawk, radio talkshow host
Walter Albasi, Rapid City, real estate investor
M. J. Adams, Rapid City, restaurant owner
Don Kelley, Deadwood, concerned citizen
Bill O’Dea, Belle Fourche, educator
Judson Ball, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Jay Pond, Rapid City, SD House cand. Dist 35
Scott Bentz, Sioux Falls, MS patient
Alan Aker, Piedmont, businessman
Jerry Apa, Lead, businessman
Samuel Saunders, Martin, educator
Brad Omland, Vermillion, USD College Libertarians
Melissa Lawler, Rapid City, chronic pain sufferer
Randy McKee, Sioux Falls, job creator
Patti Martinson, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Terry Gray, Sioux Falls, business owner
Brandon Garreau, Rapid City, businessman
Emmett Reistroffer, Sioux Falls, activist
Pete Fuller, Lead, attorney
Matthew Kinney, Spearfish, attorney
Brian Besco, Buffalo Gap, business owner
Cody Kalkman, Huron, medcan patient
Barry Wick, Rapid City, audio artist
Deb Lux, Black Hawk, concerned citizen
Debra Thornhill, Custer, concerned citizen
Jerry Christofferson, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Jaci Kennison, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Scott Prentice, Deadwood, glaucoma patient
Derek Cecil, Madison, veteran
Nyla Griffith, Deadwood, mother of combat veteran
Loran Harris, Belle Fourche, motivational speaker
Lacy Behrens, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Jim Thompson, Spearfish, radio show host
Debra Pimentel, Keystone, cancer survivor
Joanne Krambeck, Spearfish, business owner
Katie Anderson, Sioux Falls, student
Randall Peterson, Spearfish, business owner
Patrick Breen, Rapid City, business owner
Tim Johnson, Sioux Falls, business owner
Michael Tatmon, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Nan Clegg, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Donna Winkler, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Bernhard Winkler, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Tony Cain, Spearfish, business owner
William Emery, Mission, concerned citizen
Monty Hagedorn, Sioux Falls, business owner
Amy Hagedorn, Sioux Falls, business owner
Suzi Grace, Sioux Falls, concerned citizen
Valerie Miller, Hill City, combat veteran
Lorri May, Madison, concerned citizen
TerrieAnne Most-frerichs, Belle Fourche, health prof.
Diann Lauer, Deadwood, concerned citizen
Nick Nemec, Holabird, rancher
Peter Roth, Rapid City, musician
Mike Miller, Rapid City, no $ 4 drug war
Leah Williams Serrano, Rapid City, business owner
Greg Davis, Rapid City, business owner
Mathia Rall, Sioux Falls, Dr. of Public Health
Chas Jewett, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Steve Thorpe, Lead, musician/journalist
T. D. Griffith, Deadwood, author
Roxann Hitzel-Pappas, Rapid City, businesswoman
Bill Fleming, Rapid City, business owner
Roger Cornelius, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Ken Harris, Rapid City, civil servant & teacher
Andy Haley, Huron, concerned citizen
Catherine Ratliff, Hot Springs, attorney
Lynn Thorpe, Rapid City, artist & teacher
Peggy Detmers, Rapid City, biologist
Wes Buckmaster, Belle Fourche, attorney
Debbie van Kley, Belle Fourche, concerned citizen
Michael Moore, Rapid City, cancer survivor
Clara Hart, Sioux Falls, concerned citizen
Annie Woodle, Rapid City, internet specialist
Daniel Willard, Sioux Falls, Repub. Prec. Committeeman
Rick Whitelock, Whitewood, Vietnam combat veteran
David A. Larsen, Spearfish, concerned voter
Nathan Barton, Rapid City, veteran & business owner
Debby Barton, Rapid City, management analyst
Priscilla Massey, Silver City, businesswoman
Steven McEnroe, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Scott Ehrisman, Sioux Falls, political watchdog
Kimberly Lathe Greager, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Rob Horrocks, Sioux Falls, concerned citizen
Darby Warne, Pierre, concerned citizen
Johnny Moran, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Jill O’Brien, Hermosa, business owner
Dan O’Brien, Hermosa, rancher & writer
Sarah Dawn, Rapid City, concerned citizen
John Steever, Lennox, businessman
R. A. Ryan, Sioux Falls, concerned citizen
Dennes Barrett, Deadwood, concerned citizen
Steven Morgan Sr., Sioux Falls, carpenter
Ron Ziegler, Belle Fourche, cancer survivor
Brooklyn Adams, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Vickie Blakney, Deadwood, concerned citizen
Thad Wasson, Summerset, Marine Corps veteran
Shaine Parr, Yankton, Media Professional, MS Patient
Gloria Pratt, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Bryan Hale, Brookings, concerned citizen
Chelsea Elmer, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Tara Knudson, Sioux Falls, concerned citizen
Arne Lund, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Maria Birch, Chamberlain, concerned citizen
Erica Merchant, Spearfish, educator
Todd Rigione, Rapid City, artist
Judy Looyenga, Rapid City, artist
Arne Lund, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Rhiannon Stickney, Rapid City, fibromyalgia sufferer
Kim Keehn, Deadwood, concerned citizen
Justin Johnson, Sioux Falls, businessman
Christine Johnson, Sioux Falls, Registered Nurse
Deb Phillips, Whitewood, concerned citizen
James Bachand, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Cory Geyer, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Sara Young, Sioux Falls, PTSD & brain tumors
Marvin Kammerer, Rapid City, businessman
Randal Rouse, Sioux Falls, taxpayer
Eric Kritzmire, Sioux Falls, spinal cord injury
Lynn Hart, Sioux Falls, USMC veteran
Tony Mitchell, Rapid City, working class dude
Michael Houston Black, Rapid City, working student
Steven Heinbaugh, Belle Fourche, concerned citizen
Jeffrey Vetter,  Belle Fourche, concerned citizen
Michelle Tyon, Pine Ridge, Justice Advocacy Fellow
Lyn Tysdal, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Grete Bodogaard, Volin, concerned South Dakotan
Richard Dubois, Rapid City, retired educator
Susan Turnbull, Rapid City, businesswoman.
Jean Selvy-Wyss, Rapid City, concerned mother
Bill Feterl, Sturgis, concerned citizen
Ray Tysdal, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Jonathan Murphree, Rapid City, concerned student
Steve Carroll, Spearfish, business owner
Drew Konopasek, Yankton, concerned citizen
Martin Meyer, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Mark Leichtnam, Presho, concerned citizen
Katie Head, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Joseph Saner, Rapid City, ankylosing spondylitis
Ramie Elin Gibson, Belle Fourche, concerned student
Bill Knight, Rapid City, cancer survivor
John C. Willman, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Tracy Saboe, Sioux Falls, concerned citizen
Tony Axtell, McCook Lake, activist
Tom Whillock, Rapid City, Business owner
Cynthia Siragusa, Rapid City, MS sufferer
Thea Geotas, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Kayla Kirby, Aberdeen, concerned citizen
Julia Dailey, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Gary Fisher, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Tom Boasen, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Jim Strain, Rapid City, real estate developer
Jeffrey Holland, Rapid city, advocating freedom
Cindy Konopasek, Yankton, concerned citizen
Wanda Sudrala, Fruitdale, severe chronic pain
Patty Berendes, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Julie Fisk, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Winfield Craig, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Shari McCallum, Rapid City, Crohn’s disease
Dwight Mikkelsen, Rapid City, concerned sr. citizen
Linda Petersen, Rapid City, concerned sr. citizen
Jake Martinez, Spearfish, concerned citizen
Ron Leeper, Yankton, concerned citizen
Janis Leeper, Yankton, concerned citizen
Pete Hopkins, Keystone, concerned citizen
Pierre A. Lemay III, Pierre, investigator
Lief Hey-Running, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Mike Burhans, Rapid City, cancer victim relative

 


Letter to Legislators 13

Think about this...

Dec. 6, 2012

Hello everyone;

For 13 weeks we have sent a letter once a week to every legislator. The content of these letters has been available to anyone on Earth with internet service.

We have proposed the repeal of the So. Dak. statute making cannabis possession a crime and prescribing penalties for graduations in weight of the product.

So. Dak. legislators have said they wouldn't do that. They have not given a reason.

We have proposed that the legislature inform the courts that they need to allow evidence of "medical necessity" under the common law precept that one may violate a law in order to prevent a greater harm than the violation itself.

So. Dak. legislators have said they understand that cannabis is a valid remedy for at least some adverse medical conditions. None has offered to help change the law--to allow people accused of possession of "marijuana" to tell the court of their experience, and to present other evidence of medical benefit.

No one has suggested that SoDakNORML has erred in its presentation of the facts.

No one has suggested that current "drug" policy is anything but a failure. No one has taken offense to our assertion that So. Dak. "drug" law serves no one except (1) those making a living from selling "drugs" and (2) those making a living hunting down and prosecuting people for possession or sale of "drugs."

No one seems to be repeating Rep. Roger Hunt's assertion of a few years ago, "Anyone who tells you there's medical marijuana is blowing smoke."

No one disagrees that So. Dak. law enforcement filed 82402 arrests for possession of "marijuana" since 1999. That number is equal to 10% of the population of South Dakota. No one bothered to answer our question: For what?

In short, SoDakNORML has not heard or read any disagreement with any evidence we've presented. It's all here, in the series of letters in the right column of this page.

Do you think that would be true if we were asking to repeal laws against assault, burglary, robbery, DUI, rape or murder? "Crimes" create victims. Cannabis use does not.

No one has even bothered to take offense at our assertion that to fail to disallow The State from making criminals of people who use cannabis to alleviate their medical condition is active egregious cruelty.

We've proposed a law that no legislator should fear to support because it is so obviously the right thing to do. And we doubt, at the moment, that we will see any legislator offer to support it.

So long for now,
Bob Newland
for SoDakNORML

P.S. You might want to sign a petition or two at https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/.

Specifically, one to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, and to allow the states to regulate cannabis as they choose: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petitions/popular/0/2/0/

 

On Dec. 10, 2012, we sent the following letter to every So. Dak. legislator.

Dec. 10, 2012

Sen. South Dakotan
PO Box 22222
Anywhere SD 57000

Greetings, Sen. Dakotan;

As of this writing, not one person on Earth has challenged any of SoDakNORML's assertions in previous Letters to Legislators. More specifically, not one of the recipients of these letters has objected to one word of what we have written. Neither has any of the more than 200 signers of these letters.

We listened to the governor's budget address last week. Here's a suggestion: Save millions; quit arresting cannabis possessors.

Benefits:

Less need for cops (big savings). Cops left on the job get to concentrate on real crime (often associated with alcohol use), which is mostly (adult use only) not a crime in itself, but which is pretty solidly tied to domestic abuse, assault, aggravated assault, felonious assault on law enforcer, and general societal assholery.

Lower court load. Savings.

Reduction in prison population. Savings.

Diminished contempt for law enforcement: As cops are more often perceived as "friends," (i.e., there to prevent jerks from beating people up) their effectiveness will increase among the demographic that most often draws their attention, the 18-40-or-so group.

People with the misfortune of having medical conditions not satisfactorily addressed by medication approved by The State will be able to medicate themselves with cannabis (a proven remedy for many medical conditions).

Losses: An un-American level of control over the lives of people who harm no one and are as productive and contributive as any other group of South Dakotans.

We can't think of any other negative (losses) argument for our proposition that the 2013 So. Dak. Legislature repeal SDCL 22-42-6.

We recently learned that So. Dak. Supreme Court and circuit court time has been and will be consumed by an argument over whether someone had any affection left to be alienated. We don't mind that. We do mind, however, that one is barred from arguing at arrest/prosecution level that (s)he uses cannabis as a medical necessity. There is only one possible argument for this policy:

Judges and juries are too gullible to be allowed to hear testimony that cannabis alleviates misery in even one adverse medical condition. The legislature must protect them from hearing evil evidence that contradicts public policy.

Very best regards,

//signed by 211 South Dakotans//

 


Letter to Legislators 12

The following eblast was sent 12/03/2012 to 1900 recipients.

Hello everyone;

I suggest you read the So. Dak. Supreme Court decision, SD v Duchenaux, 2003. The Supreme Court could have done the right thing with this decision, but it chose to use a tortured argument to justify the status quo. At the same time, it did tell us at least one place where the defense made a mistake. See if you can find that hint. It really is interesting reading.

Basically, the court said that when it comes to using cannabis to quell the misery of an adverse medical condition, the court might accept a natural right to self-defense against a disease, there is no legal right to break the law to fight a disease, because a disease doesn't recognize legal rights. The lawyer should have argued a natural (common law) right to self-defense, the court says. I think that's bullshit; I think the court would say there's no natural right if that's the point being argued, but the justices had to say something, and that's what they said.

A couple of weeks ago, SoDakNORML asked all recipients of this newsletter to email their state legislators and request them to support the Medical Necessity Act, which would allow people accused of a violation of SDCL 22-42-6 (possession of "marijuana") to present evidence of medical necessity.

So far, one SoDakNORML member has responded to us. His experience was to have emailed Rep. Mike Verchio of Hill City with a personal note and a plea to support a medical necessity defense. Verchio responded with, "No !" Verchio has refused to give a reason.

On the other hand, Verchio did respond. We know where he stands. We think you should demand at least as much of a reply from your own legislator. You will be amazed at how few such emails it woill take to create a buzz. Please email your legislators. SoDakNORML provides a cut-and-paste note to send at http://sodaknorml.org/2013necessityact.htm.

Please let us know that you contacted your legislators. Let us know how they responded.

If they don't hear from you, they will think you don't care any more than they do. And maybe you don't.

Following is the text of the next letter we plan to send to every member of the legislature. It will go out Wednesday (12/5/2012), after we edit it based on the feedback you give us.

Sen. (or Rep.) Jack Johnson
Anywhere SD

Greetings Sen. Johnson;

As of this writing, SoDakNORML has received no communication from any So. Dak. legislator indicating any curiosity about anything in our weekly letters (12 of them so far).

We have demonstrated the horrible carnage of the the 6000 South Dakota arrests per year for possession of "marijuana." These arrests have accomplished incalculable damage to peoples' lives and additions to the tax burden of South Dakotans. These arrests have strengthened the finances of some of the most vicious people on Earth. These arrests have not diminished the use of cannabis in South Dakota.

We have presented evidence that cannabis has a wide range of benefits for a wide range of patients with a wide range of adverse medical conditions, many of them life-threatening. We have pointed out the irony that South Dakota's cannabis Prohibition affects most negatively those who benefit or could benefit from its use.

We have proposed a simple piece of legislation that would allow people who benefit medically from cannabis use to present evidence to that effect if they are prosecuted.

We have received no feedback from a South Dakota legislator, with the exception of one legislator who emailed a constituent a short reply: "No !" We guess that qualifies as "feedback."

We refuse to believe that every one of South Dakota's 105 legislators is so heartless as to endorse a situation that denies a person from presenting a defense (to an act that harmed no one) by saying to a judge or jury, "I use cannabis because without it I can not live." Refusing to act is tantamount to endorsing senseless torture of sick, disabled and dying people.

If you can support the Medical Necessity Act, let us know. If you can't support it, please let us know why.

Very best regards,
//signed by 210 South Dakotans//


If you contact your legislators, we have a chance of a full discussion of a right that should be an obvious right granted us by our Creator; the right to defend ourselves against any threat, be it unlawful or merely medical, with the best tools available.

So long for now,
Bob Newland
for SoDakNORML

 

On Nov. 26, we sent the following letter, authored by Dr. Hercules, to every So. Dak. legislator.

Costas Hercules, M.D.
22820 Wild Irishman Rd
Rapid City SD 57702
605-342-4242 • doc@ahaha.com

Nov. 26, 2012

Sen. (or Rep.) South Dakotan
PO Box 22222
Anywhere SD 57000

Greetings, Sen. Dakotan;

As a concerned senior citizen and M.D., I appeal to the compassion and empathy of the legislators of South Dakota to reintroduce and pass the 2001 House Bill 1120: An act to allow a medical necessity to be used as a defense in certain cases involving the possession and use of marijuana. (see the entire bill below).

It is common knowledge that marijuana (Cannabis) has uniquely beneficial effects for many maladies, physical, mental and emotional, when used by patients in an informed way. This clear humanitarian act would allow patients and doctors to communicate more fully and honestly about medications, and would at least allow a medical marijuana user to present a defense based on necessity.

In a catch-22, the federal government pronounces that marijuana has no medical use and thus it should not be scientifically studied. This is an example of politics overriding science. This law would defy the federal government a tiny bit for the benefit of suffering South Dakotans. 

Please consider reintroducing and cosponsoring this bill.

Feel welcome to be in touch.
Thank you.

Costas Hercules, M.D.

The bill below was introduced by Rep. Hennies in 2001.

   FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to allow a medical necessity to be used as a defense in certain cases involving the possession or use of marijuana. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA: 
     Section 1.  Any person arrested or prosecuted for the possession or use of marijuana may submit as a defense, a medical necessity, if:
             (1) The person has a medical condition recognized by a competent medical authority as a condition for which marijuana is a palliative; or
             (2) The person has a recommendation by a competent medical authority for the use of marijuana for a medical condition.
     Section 2.  A medical necessity defense pursuant to this Act may, at the discretion of the accused, include:
.............(1) Expert testimony;
.............(2) A recommendation by a competent medical authority; and 
.............(3) Testimony by other persons with a similar medical condition.

//207 signers endorsed the contents of this letter.//

 


Letter to Legislators 11

Do you really want to see the “medical necessity” bill considered in the 2013 South Dakota legislative session?
 
Here’s how it can happen. Legislators don’t hear from many individual voters. They get quite a little garbage mail from various national organizations, and they hear from lobbyists on a few matters that concern some special interests. But they don’t hear from many ‘just plain folks” who want legislation just because it’s the right thing to do.
 
The easiest thing for a legislator to do is nothing. That becomes less easy when they hear from a few people in their districts about a law that is so unjust that it defies characterization.
 
That’s what the “Medical Necessity Act” will rectify.
 
If the 200 people who have signed the Letters to Legislators were to each email or snail-mail (even better) their three legislators with the following message, SoDakNORML will guarantee you that the Medical Necessity Act will see a full discussion and almost certain passage in the 2013 legislature.



+++++++++++++++++++++
 
 
Sen. (or Rep.) Smith;

It is unjust that people accused of possession of “marijuana” are not allowed to present evidence that they use cannabis to alleviate their medical conditions.

Please support the 2013 South Dakota Medical Necessity Act:
 
Section  1.  Any person arrested or prosecuted for the possession or use of marijuana may submit as a defense, a medical necessity, if:

(1)    The person has a medical condition recognized by a competent medical authority as a condition for which marijuana is a palliative; or
(2)    The person has a recommendation by a competent medical authority for the use of marijuana for a medical condition.

Section  2.  A medical necessity defense pursuant to this Act may, at the discretion of the accused, include:

(1)    Expert testimony;
(2)    A recommendation by a competent medical authority; and
(3)    Testimony by other persons with a similar medical condition.


 Thank you for considering this proposal.
 
Sincerely,
//Your (electronic or signed) signature//
 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
 

You may, of course, add a personal note. The important thing is that you have taken the time to express your desire on an issue a legislator can get behind without annoying very many voters. How, after all, can a person tell his legislator that he doesn’t want people to be able to legally use an effective medicine?

You can, by investing 10 or fifteen minutes, send this message to all three legislators in your legislative district.

You can go to http://legis.state.sd.us/ and click on “Who are my Legislators?”
 
Once you know, you can click on your legislators’ names and send them an email, or get their mailing addresses to send them snail-mail. Just copy and paste the message above, using the legislators’ names, and you’ll have done more to beneficially change cannabis law in South Dakota than any except about two dozen people in the state.
 
All that is necessary to allow the evil of denying people an effective, safe herbal remedy is for you to do nothing.
 
Best regards,
Bob
 
P.S. We'd love to hear from everyone who sent the email or postal mail to their legislators.

 

On Nov. 19, we sent the following letter to every So. Dak. legislator.

Nov. 19, 2012

Sen. Jack Smith
PO Box 2222
Anywhere SD 57709

Greetings, Sen. Smith;

There are 200-some signatures at the bottom of this letter, all from South Dakotans. We have, in two petition drives aimed at a similar goal, attained the signatures of about 50,000 South Dakotans. Signatures probably aren’t that impressive, unless the signers themselves start contacting their legislators.

Nonetheless, the signatures below are of people, representative of people with whom all South Dakotans associate and do business, who believe that it is stupid and counterproductive to jail people for using cannabis. If folks were asked on the street if they think that it is cruel to prohibit application of a remedy that alleviates a person’s suffering, we believe fewer than one in one hundred would say, “No.”

SoDakNORML and the signers of this letter pose this question: Why would you not support a change in South Dakota law to permit a person accused of a violation of SDCL 22-42-6 (possession of “marijuana” and punishments for it) to say in court, “I use cannabis because it helps me stay alive. My doctor agrees.”?

If a drowning woman manages to save her own life by clambering onto a boat not hers, only the depraved would prosecute her for trespass or burglary.

Representative Hennies sponsored this bill in 2001. We think it’s downright eloquent, as laws go. The judiciary committee declined to allow the whole House to consider it.

Section  1.  Any person arrested or prosecuted for the possession or use of marijuana may submit as a defense, a medical necessity, if:

(1)    The person has a medical condition recognized by a competent medical authority as a condition for which marijuana is a palliative; or
(2)    The person has a recommendation by a competent medical authority for the use of marijuana for a medical condition.

Section  2.  A medical necessity defense pursuant to this Act may, at the discretion of the accused, include:

(1)    Expert testimony;
(2)    A recommendation by a competent medical authority; and
(3)    Testimony by other persons with a similar medical condition.

People all over are saying, “Cannabis alleviates my medical condition.” Let ‘em prove it in court. We allow people who kill others to say in court that they did so in self-defense. That is all we are asking in this request, that people with miserable medical conditions be allowed to plead self-defense, and try to prove it.

Please support a “medical necessity” defense.

Very best regards,

//Signed by over 200 South Dakotans//

 


Letter to Legislators 10

The following eblast was sent 11/05/2012 to 1900 recipients.
 
Hello everyone;
 
As of this moment, 175 South Dakotans have given SoDakNORML permission to use their names to promote the goal: Stop Jailing Cannabis Users.
 
There are about 250,000 people in South Dakota who vote. About 25,000 of them use cannabis more than once a year. (Y'gotta make a distinction between "regular" use and "occasional" use.)
 
It is both remarkable and pathetic that 151 South Dakotans have agreed to point the spear of legislative scrutiny at themselves by publicly agreeing with SoDakNORML that cannabis prohibition cannot survive a look at what it accomplishes.
 
It's remarkable. Never before in any campaign in South Dakota have we been able to persuade this many South Dakotans to draw a line in the sand with their names on it, saying, "You've come far enough. You've failed. Stop now, before you REALLY fuck things up." At least we've not previously gained their public support on the topic of cannabis Prohibition.
 
It's pathetic. SoDakNORML has asked several hundred people to join us on this one issue. Most have not responded. 150 did. We think it's pathetic that 500 more have not. We also understand the power of the various repressive measures in place to punish those who want the State to stop imprisoning people for actions no sane person can call "crimes."
 
We know most of the people who gave us permission to use their names. We think they are a representative cross-section of South Dakotans. We think each name represents a significant number of like-minded folks in similar life situations.
 
We don't yet have a draft of the Nov. 12 Letter to Legislators. We'll be working on it tonight. Suggestions?
 
We'd sure like to use your name, and your friends' names, to sign these Letters telling the legislature to Stop Jailing Cannabis Users. Your name, if you live in or vote in South Dakota is worth more than any money you should have sent us to help stop Prohibition, but didn't.
 
With your help (your name, city, characterization) we WILL have a bill in the legislature to allow people accused of "Possession of 'Marijuana'" to argue in court that they use "marijuana" medically. Arguments to this end are rarely allowed by South Dakota judges.
 
Simple enough, isn't it? You get charged with possession, you produce evidence that you suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, and that your physician is aware that you use cannabis to alleviate pain and involuntary muscle spasms, and (s)he approves o the therapy. Any prosecutor who proceeds with a "possession" case in the face of that evidence will be quickly exposed as the jerk (s)he is. That is, if you are allowed to present that evidence.
 
SoDakNORML thinks that a sanely organized society can not deny a person accused of possession of a garden plant the right to say in court, "This plant relieves me of pain and other ugly symptoms of my medical condition. Stay the fuck out of my condition. My doctor and I have it handled as well as it can be."
 
I am pretty sure you can sign on to that. So do it. We need you to be a South Dakota resident/voter, your hometown name and a two or three word characterization. You can see how we're listing names at http://sodaknorml.org/2012leglttrs.html.
 
Send us your name and permission to use it,
 
Bob Newland
for SoDakNORML

 

On Nov. 12, we sent the following letter to every So. Dak. legislator.

Nov. 12, 2012

Sen. John Smith
Address
Anywhere SD 57---

Greetings, Sen. Smith;

One hundred five men and women will receive this letter in the mail. The 105 recipients represent in the legislature, collectively, about 824,000 South Dakotans. This letter has been signed by 175 South Dakotans. The 175 signers each typify an unknown, but significant, in our opinion, segment of that 824,000.

The 175 signers of this letter joined on the basis of the slogans; "Stop Jailing Cannabis Users," and "Let Doctors and Patients Decide." SoDakNORML and the 175 signers ask that the 2013 Legislature move in those directions.

We believe that SDCL 22-42-6 should be repealed. Nothing about cannabis use qualifies it for inclusion in the criminal code. The 82,402 prosecutions for cannabis possession in South Dakota since 1998 are pure carnage in our view. Nothing good came of them.

We refuse to argue for anything less than repeal of 22-42-6. However, it's obvious that the legislature can move in that direction by lessening the severity of the penalties for possession of cannabis. Our view is that if a lawmaking body can justify lessening the penalties, the same arguments work to abolish the law itself. SoDakNORML considers the repeal of 22-42-6 to be its primary goal.

For most of the 9500 arrests for some offense involving cannabis in South Dakota in 2012, the arrestees either got the charges dropped (about 70%), got it dismissed or beat the charge (about 10%), or were convicted or pled guilty and paid a fine. Some did a few days in jail. A few will do years and years. Money and time are what an arrest means to them. No big deal, just more carnage.

But there is a group of MS patients, spinal injury sufferers, chronic pain sufferers, cancer treatment sufferers, migraine sufferers, digestive tract disorder sufferers, and a dozen or so more general classifications of medical disorder patients who already make themselves and their suppliers criminals when they use cannabis to treat their conditions. There are many such patients who would use cannabis but are afraid to now because they fear the law more than they fear the misery of their conditions.

The 2013 legislature can contribute a great deal to alleviating the miserable symptoms many of these people have to endure by wiping out the miserable symptom of fear of prosecution for trying to relieve their discomfort. Simply allow those accused of possession of cannabis the ability to present evidence that he or she gains a medical benefit by doing so. Let prosecutors, judges and juries decide if the evidence is compelling. That's part of why we have them.

The evidence is already too compelling to allow this shredding of the concept of justice to continue. To call it heartless does not adequately convey the cruelty inherent in current South Dakota law. There is no rational reason to prevent people accused of "possession of 'marijuana'" from presenting a "medical necessity" defense. There are rational, medically defensible reasons to allow such a defense.

That much, at least, must be done in the 2013 legislative session in the name of justice.

Very best regards,

//signed by 175 South Dakotans//


Letter to Legislators 9

The following eblast was sent 10/28/2012 to 1900 recipients.

October 28, 2012

Hello Everyone;

SoDakNORML thanks Jaci Kennison of Rapid City for spending an afternoon folding Letters to Legislators and stuffing them in envelopes, then sealing, stamping and mailing them. Jaci had the enviable task of using the SoDakNORML stamp to mail the letters on Oct. 29.

The Nov. 5 letters will be folded, stuffed and stamped by Katie Anderson in Sioux Falls. We really appreciate the help given us by Jaci and Katie, as well as by Ken Santema of Aberdeen, Kim Miller of Mitchell, Bea White of Rapid City, and Brian Knutson of Rapid City for their help on this part of the project in previous weeks.

The Nov. 5 Letter to Legislators is posted at the bottom of this message. It is signed by 130 South Dakotans who want the legislature to Stop Jailing Cannabis Users.

We achieved the 130 folks' permissions to use their names on this project by messaging people on Facebook with this message:

Would you like to be a signer on SODakNORML's Letters to Legislators?
http://sodaknorml.org/2012leglttrs.html

Just like that. You can copy and paste that message to your friends, if you like. We found that it was much more effective to message each person individually rather than simply post it to our "timeline."

We're running out of folks we know to ask, though. The message you are reading will be delivered to about 1900 people. We ask you to try to recruit 10 more people to sign the Letters. We think we can safely promise you that if we have 500 signers, we will see legislation proposed in January that will at least be a step in the right direction. Why not try for 1000 signers?

Imagine that you are a So. Dak. legislator. (Pause to allow excitement, indifference, or gag reflex to subside.) Imagine that you receive 17 letters advocating sanity. (Pause again to absorb the unusual nature of the missives.)

You notice that over 500 South Dakotans, many of them your immediate constituents, have signed the later letters advocating a change in South Dakota law that will result in 6000 fewer arrests per year of South Dakotans. These arrests, you notice, have been for "offenses" that have really not threatened public order.

If you care about making life safer and better for your constituents, you have no choice but to take a closer look at the arguments, right?

Please do what you can to get more signers for our Letters to Legislators.

Have a good week. I'm gonna shoot some North Dakota pheasants next weekend. By the way, hunters have told me that pheasants hang out in hemp patches, 'cuz they love the seeds. That alone should be enough to convince a red-blooded legislator in South Dakota to advocate industrial hemp farming.

Best regards,
Bob Newland
for SoDakNORML

 

ON Nov. 5, we sent the following letter to every So. Dak. legislator and candidate to the legislature.

Nov. 5, 2012 

Rep. John Smith; Somewhere in South Dakota

Greetings, Rep. Smith;

Some of the recipients of this letter will be reading it after having not prevailed in the election this week. SoDakNORML, having engaged in several unsuccessful bids for office and to change So. Dak. law, feels your pain. Congratulations to all who were elected or re-elected. Those who were not successful may continue to receive the letters if they request us to send them. Otherwise, they'll have to come to this website to see them.

For a significant portion of suffering people, cannabis provides relief from pain and nausea and stimulates appetite in patients with wasting syndromes. That is undeniable unless one also denies that the sun is the center of the solar system. Several studies suggest that cannabis shrinks some tumors. Other studies suggest that cannabis is a factor in preventing some cancers.

To maintain, as does the United States government and the State of South Dakota, that cannabis has "no medical use" is akin to maintaining that one can identify a witch by looking at the pattern of moles on a suspect's back.

SoDakNORML understands that it is unlikely that the legislature will repeal SDCL 22-42-6 (Prohibition of possession of "marijuana"), even though we advocate just that. However, a step in the right direction that is politically feasible would be to allow people accused of possession to assert the defense that they are using cannabis to alleviate a medical condition.

We propose that in prosecutions of 22-42-6, the accused be allowed to present evidence that the accused has a medical condition known to be palliated by cannabis. The claimed medical condition can easily be corroborated by medical records and testimony of the accused's physician. Likewise, the benefits to the accused given by cannabis can be corroborated by the physician and other written and oral evidence.

To arrest, prosecute and punish a person for attempting to alleviate his or her own suffering is cruelty beyond easy characterization. To allow a person to present evidence that alleviation of suffering was his goal, especially if the attempt is successful, is nothing short of justice. What sort of dementia would provoke one to deny that right to an accused person, sometimes suffering greatly, who stands to lose a great deal -- especially, loss of access to the medicine that works for him -- if convicted?

If judges and juries are not convinced by the evidence in a series of prosecutions, accused people will stop using it. If evidence is convincing in a series of cases, the benefits are obvious. Either way, justice has a chance of being served. Either way, the legislature will have provided a means to settle an argument at the level at which the argument stems.

We believe that most South Dakota legislators believe both in liberty and in what works. We believe that allowing an affirmative defense of "medical necessity" is a step toward achieving both those aspirations. Those accused of murder are allowed to present a "self-defense" argument. Why shouldn't people be allowed that argument when they are accused of possessing a benign herb?

Very best regards,

//Signed by 142 South Dakotans//

 


Letter to Legislators 8

eblast sent to the SoDakNORML email list 10/22/2012
 
Hello Everyone;

Next Monday, Oct. 29, SoDakNORML will send out the 8th of 17 Letters to Legislators on behalf of every person in South Dakota who is offended by the barbarity of prosecuting people with a hundred different tortures for the “crime” of possessing cannabis. Letter 8 will be sent with the “Stop Jailing Cannabis Users” postage stamp.

At right is a first draft of that proposed letter. We publish the Letters to Legislators in advance when we can. This one will be printed on Thursday, so if you have any comments, please REPLY with them soon. We appreciate your observations, although we have trouble consistently adhering to your suggestions. Don’t let that deter you from asking, “Have you lost your mind?”

The following will probably not be included in the letter at right. We were looking for a good argument for cannabis Prohibition in the South Dakota Republican Party Platform. We’re not sure whether this supports us or not. What do you think?

Platform of the South Dakota Republican Party, Health and Human Services plank:

We will not put government between patients and their health care providers. The South Dakota Republican Party believes the key to real reform is to give control of the health care system to patients and their health care providers, not bureaucrats in government or business. 

We strongly support market-based reforms that are consumer-driven and targeted to reducing costs and increasing access. We strongly support the fundamental right of a patient to choose their own physician and respect the importance of treatments focused on the patient’s well-being.

We checked out the South Dakota Democratic Party platform, but it just said “If Democrats love everyone, they’ll love us back.” Sorry, Democrats, but the Republicans say what they’re gonna do, then ignore it when they get annoyed by pot smokers. You Democrat guys and gals gotta come up with a sturdy platform for your elected officials to ignore.

The Libertarians, of course, support our position. We don’t know if Libertarians will ignore their party platform once elected because we haven’t ever elected one.

Let SoDakNORML know what you think of our 8th Letter to Legislators.

Best regards,
Bob Newland, for SoDakNORML

 

 

ON October 29, we sent the following letter to every So. Dak. legislator and candidate to the legislature with the SoDakNORML stamp on it.

Oct. 29, 2012 

Rep. John Smith; Somewhere in South Dakota

Greetings, Rep. Smith;

Lewis Lapham, editor of the Atlantic Monthly, said, “Politics is the continuous argument over who gets to do what to whom, for how long, and against what degree of dissent.” 

“Winners” might be defined as the “gets to do” in Lapham’s statement, and “losers” the “to whom.” 

SoDakNORML knows that each reader of this letter is aware that the segment of the public questioning the efficacy of laws Prohibiting possession or use of cannabis is growing. We who oppose Prohibition see starkly the effects of Prohibition and we see no benefits from it. Whether or not our vision is clear depends on how one defines “benefits,” of course. As with all programs instituted by the State, there are winners and there are losers. The winners in this issue are the most vicious people on Earth. The losers are you and me. The degree of dissent is growing. We dissenters say, "Using the criminal justice system to punish people for behavior that is not a threat to public order is a shameful and gratuitously useless enterprise.”

That leads us to the politics of the possible. SoDakNORML will begin to explore the possibilities next week, at least as we see them. We’d like to hear from recipients of this letter who’d like to join in the exploration. Good luck to all of you on Nov. 6. 

Below we have listed a few internet sites that contain pertinent information. We hope you will take a look. Any combination of “cannabis,” “hemp,” or “marijuana,” along with “law,” “legal,” “policy,” or “prohibit” will turn up several hundred anti-Prohibition sites, and one or two Prohibitionist websites. SoDakNORML would like to hear from anyone of a sound argument for Prohibition published in any form, online, printed, broadcast, whatever. We may sometimes assume too much, but we don’t assume that all 203 people who have been receiving these letters agree with us. We can’t learn anything from those who disagree with us until we face a coherent argument from them.

Rather than keyboarding in the links below (this refers to the print version of this letter), you can go to www.SoDakNORML.org and click on links to all of these websites from that page. The links are in the right column, under the word NEW!

Melanie Dreher, dean of nursing at Rush University Medical Center: “We found in a study [of working class men in Jamaica, 30 of whom were chronic users for the past 10 years] that cannabis users performed significantly better than non-users on the psychiatric and physiological battery of tests.”

Should Grandma Smoke Pot -- 28 minutes of cannabis politics, history, and medical use. Very good overview.

Judge Richard A. Posner, a member of the influential United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, is an intellectual giant who is the most-cited judge in America. Posner is considered a legal conservative. “I don’t think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have. I think it’s really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana,” he said. 
http://blogs.lawyers.com/2012/09/respected-federal-judge-calls-for-legalizing-marijuana/
YouTube video of Posner speech  

Very best regards and, again, Good Luck next week!

Signed by more than 90 South Dakotans

 


Letter to Legislators 7

October 15, 2012 (eblasted to SoDakNORML list)

Hello Everyone;

I've been on the road for a week, and will be gone again for several days. Makes it hard to compose these mailings.

More than 40 South Dakotans have volunteered the use of their names as signers of SoDakNORML's Letters to Legislators.

THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE!!! Never have more than two or three South Dakotans said to their legislators in a public document that they want the legislature to STOP JAILING PEOPLE FOR USING CANNABIS!!

You can help by adding your name to the list. Take a look at our FACEBOOK page. LIKE us. Specifically LIKE the page, not just a single post, although you can LIKE as many posts as you want.

Then email newland@rapidcity.com and ask to have your name added to the list. Your name will then be added to those who are already telling the legislature to STOP JAILING PEOPLE FOR USING CANNABIS!!

Please help us to swell the list to 80 names by next week.

This is the most important request we have ever made.

At right is the letter we plan to send out next Monday (10/22) to every current So. Dak. Legislator and every candidate for the statehouse.

Best regards,
Bob (for SoDakNORML)

 

Mailed Oct. 22, 2012

Rep. Genuine Compassion
777 Headache Rd
Empathetic SD 57000

Greetings, Rep. Compassion;

SoDakNORML sent the following letter to all members of a So. Dak. legislative committee scheduled to take testimony on two medical cannabis issues in 2010. Dr. Traub, a Rapid City internal medicine specialist, wrote the letter below to the committees, advocating recognition of medical cannabis in 2010. In those hearings, no legislator mentioned the letter. We reprint it here.

To the legislature:

Thank you for the opportunity to address you on behalf of my patients with multiple sclerosis and AIDS wasting syndrome who have found relief from their symptoms by using marijuana (THC). I am hopeful that the legislative process might be able to address their needs by reconsidering a limited legalization of marijuana for very limited medical use, similar to that in other states. I hope to point out how the drug works in relieving symptoms, why it may have advantages over currently available prescription drugs, and ask your assistance in decreasing or abolishing the criminal consequences that our patients currently face with their current surreptitious use of marijuana.

THC is a drug derived from plant material or made synthetically and available as a capsule called dronabinol. Cannabinoids (a collective term for substances with similar structures and effects as tetrahydrocannabinol) have many effects on the brain, and often cause changes in pulse and blood pressure that medically we call sympathomimetic effects. The sympathomimetic effects include conjunctival injection in the eye, an increase in pulse rate and fluctuations in blood pressure. It is thought that these effects arise from binding of the cannabinoids with receptors in the brain with subsequent autonomic nervous system to cause the symptoms noted above. These effects lessen rapidly with regular use of the drug. This explains why an examiner can sometimes detect when a new user of marijuana has used the drug, whereas a frequent user of the drug may escape detection on physical exam.

Cannabinoids can be found in several parts of the brain after ingestion. Areas found to have receptors for cannabinoids include the cerebellum (area at the base of the brain responsible to some degree for balance and coordination of movements), the hippocampus (responsible in part for memory and interpretation of sensory input), the frontal cortex (interpretation of visual and sensory input important for appetite, hunger and body sensations). The cannabinoids affect dopamine levels, which in the cerebellum may explain less spasticity and smoother motion in patients with multiple sclerosis. The effect of cannabinoids in the frontal cortex explain their effect on appetite and weight gain. Effects in the hippocampus may explain cannabinoids’ effect on forgetting painful conditions and tolerating pain. Collectively, these are some of the symptom relief mechanisms, leading patients with AIDS wasting syndrome and MS to try marijuana.

Upon hearing this explanation, some would ask, “Why not ask these patients to obtain prescriptions from their medical professionals for dronabinol, and everything will be fine, right?” Unfortunately, oral dronabinol is extensively degraded by the liver after it is absorbed from the gut. Furthermore, due to the large volume of tissues that the cannabinoid is diluted in (called volume of distribution) in the body, actual concentrations of the drug are very low after taking it orally. Ingesting several times the recommended dose may be the only method to obtain the desired symptom relief. This practice is not recommended, or safe, because of the variability of each person’s reaction to cannabinoids. The only positive long lasting effect that is usually seen with the use of oral cannabinoids is their effect on the appetite.

These drawbacks to oral cannabinoids lead to another option for their use -- inhaling smoke from marijuana by burning it or dessicating it to allow absorption of the oily, fat soluble substance directly into the blood. Variables exist here also, as different marijuana plants contain differing concentrations of the active cannaboids. Advantages of inhaling the marijuana smoke include allowing the patient to titrate the dose of the marijuana themselves (by smoking enough to relieve their symptoms. Disadvantages include the potential effects on the lung including the potential for emphysema and possibly lung cancer in long-term users. [SoDakNORML note: Recently released studies and a huge volume of anecdotal reports suggest that known damage to lungs by cannabis smoke is at least far, far less than expected, and, at best, cannabis smoke appears to not damage lungs as much as most folks’ ambient environment.]

In conclusion, we in the medical profession are faced with patients with miserable symptoms, from diseases that are incurable or chronically disabling. Their symptoms, including spasticity, weight loss, and pain, can be alleviated. The medical use of marijuana can have positive effects for our patients above and beyond those seen with medicines currently available. Work currently ongoing in fields of chronic cancer pain and hospice lend us hope that medical marijuana may allow us to offer further symptom relief for our patients. Is medical marijuana a cure all or wonder drug? Certainly not. It can be, however, helpful for some of our chronically ill patients with miserable symptoms.

Please consider this explanation when considering legislation this year on the medical use of marijuana.

Sincerely,
Douglas M. Traub, MD, FACP

It’s safe; no lethal dose possible, no condition-worsening side effects. Very inexpensive. “It can be helpful for some of our chronically ill patients with miserable symptoms.” Dr. Traub sets the bar to qualify for “wonder drug” pretty high, doesn’t he?

Very sincerely yours,

for SoDakNORML

Bob Newland, Hermosa, businessman
Jesse Grimm, Hot Springs, combat veteran
Dennis Bridenstine, Lead, paraplegic
E. J. GreyBuffalo, Sisseton, bone disease sufferer
Ken Santema, Aberdeen, veteran, business owner
Kim Miller, Mitchell, concerned citizen
Brian Knutson, Rapid City, businessman
Loy Allen, Hermosa, manufacturer
Bea White, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative
Judy Stromer, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative
Cecilia Gray, Rapid City, cancer survivor
Vincent Stark, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Matt Mogen, Aberdeen, SD Human Services
Shane Garry, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Zane Holcomb, Buffalo, rancher
Maureen Tracy, Aberdeen, criminal justice spec.
Jeremy Briggs, Rapid City, real estate developer
Steve Norquist, Hill City, contractor

Phillip Smith, Huron, journalist
Andrea Stark, Whitewood, mother

Walter Albasi, Rapid City, real estate investor
M. J. Adams, Rapid City, restaurant owner
Don Kelley, Deadwood, concerned citizen
Bill O’Dea, Belle Fourche, educator

 

Bradley Morgan, Central City, spinal cord injury
Thomas Diggins, Rapid City, Asst Public Dfndr
Wendy Roth, Black Hawk, concerned citizen
Jeff Hudson, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Kimberly Landsman, Rapid City, health prof’l.
Tom Gerber, Sturgis, management consultant
Tim Holmgren, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Chris Opitz, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Charles Nauman, Volin, filmmaker & author
Sanford Ader, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Liz Holler, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Jerry Bloomer, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Susanne Bloomer, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Eugene Huckins, Sturgis, concerned citizen
Wayne Gilbert, Rapid City, legal researcher
C.R. Cundy, Custer, herbal remedy researcher
Cameon Jacobson, PharmD, RC, MS sufferer
Josh Houy, Rapid City, attorney
Cathy Roberts, Piedmont, nurse
Zachary Novotny, Spearfish, concerned citizen
Michael Sanborn, Rapid City, businessman

Jared Peterson, Spearfish, online media specialist
Gwen Caldwell, Black Hawk, radio talkshow host


Letter to Legislators 6

October 4, 2012 (sent to eblast list, posted on Facebook)
 
Hello everyone;
 
We have come so close to covering the Letters to Legislators budget that we can quit begging for money for a little while.
 
SoDakNORML now must ask for a more serious commitment from anyone who lives and/or votes in South Dakota. We're now asking for more than money or Facebook LIKES. We're asking for your name.
 
We assume if you have read this far that you believe, more or less, that jailing people for possessing cannabis is just plain wrong. We also assume that you believe that cannabis has at least some therapeutic value for at least some people. We also assume that you believe that US farmers should be given a shot at the worldwide hemp market. We also assume that there are those among our readers who believe these things and who do not use cannabis. Around 55% of Americans now poll regularly in favor of legalization. No one suspects that 55% of Americans use cannabis.
 
An endorsement of our position no longer puts one in automatic suspicion of cannabis use.
 
If you are a cannabis user, you should voice your opinion.
 
If you are not a cannabis user, and you agree with us on the points above, you should voice your opinion.
 
We have a great opportunity to express our opinions on these matters, as a single bloc of signatures, in a series of short letters to the South Dakota Legislature.
 
SoDakNORML thinks it is not unreasonable to ask that 300 people sign our Letters to Legislators. Why not 1000? Why not 82,400 cosigners? There were 82,400 arrests for "marijuana possession" in just the last 14 years. An arrest every 90 minutes, day and night and holidays.
 
It is time to stop this carnage, this waste of resources, this arbitrary, senseless, gratuitous fucking-up of people's lives. FOR NOTHING!
 
We've sent some persuasive Letters to Legislators. Some legislators and candidates have read some of them. When word gets around that there are signatures of 575 South Dakotans on a letter advocating that the legislature stop jailing people for nothing,…,well, we don't know. Nothing like that has ever happened. They've always thought they had you whipped like a red-headed stepchild, hiding under the bed so you wouldn't be any trouble.
 
575 signatures of South Dakotans on a Letter to Legislators advocating that we stop jailing people for cannabis possession will garner a serious attempt by some legislators to advance that position. Prove me wrong on that. Put your name on the line as an advocate of good, humane, sincere, honest public policy.
 
We need specific permission to use your name on our Letters to Legislators. Email newland@rapidcity.com (you'll have to respond to a spam filter challenge if you are not on my email recipient list already).
 
575 cosigners to the Letters to Legislators will change history!
 
Best regards,
 
for SoDakNORML
Bob Newland, Hermosa, businessman; Jesse Grimm, Hot Springs, combat veteran; Dennis Bridenstine, Lead, paraplegic; E. J. GreyBuffalo, Sisseton, degenerative bone disease patient; Ken Santema, Aberdeen, veteran & business owner; Kim Miller, Mitchell, concerned citizen; Brian Knutson, Rapid City, businessman; Loy Allen, Hermosa, manufacturer; Bea White, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative; Judy Stromer, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative; Jeremy Briggs, Rapid City, real estate developer; Cecilia Gray, Rapid City, cancer survivor (NOTE: as of 10/6/2012, we have 40-some co-signers. We still need 530 more to achieve our goal of 575.)

In addition to signing the Letters, Brian Knutson, Ken Santema, Bea White, Wendy Roth and Kim Miller have each spent an afternoon folding letters and stuffing and stamping envelopes in the Letters to Legislators campaign.

 

Mailed Oct. 15, 2012

Oct. 15, 2012

Rep. Visionary Thinker
1234 Open Mind St
Well of Thought SD 57999

Greetings, Rep. Thinker;
 
SoDakNORML believes that it is arguable that more harm is done every day to South Dakotans by the laws that result in 16 arrests for "marijuana" possession – EVERY DAY! -- than has been done to South Dakotans by cannabis itself since 1889, the year So. Dak. achieved statehood.

Every arrest is attended by summary punishment. An accused person must often pay an exorbitant extortion fee to retrieve his towed vehicle. The accused must often pay a bail bondsman. The accused has his name published in the community newspaper. The accused must worry that The State will "forfeit" (seize) his or her cash, car, children, and house. The accused usually will either pay a defense attorney or use public (your) money to obtain a public defender.

Those convicted of possession, a crime for which no one can find a victim, suffer various additional punishments -- fines, jail time, employment ramifications, property seizures, loss of civil rights, and more. These harms are not caused by cannabis use, but by the laws which attempt (and fail) to Prohibit its use.

Cannabis use is not a good idea for children and adolescents (except for some medical conditions), because its psychotropic and physical effects probably interfere with brain development. Current policy assures access to cannabis by children.

We don't even suggest that cannabis use is a "good idea" for adults (except for an ever-growing known list of adverse medical conditions that are relieved by cannabis), but what we think is a good idea is irrelevant to what happens in the real world. People use cannabis, and the law does not seem to even slow that group down.

The facts are that many, many actions and substances that are legal to perform or possess are documentably more harmful to some doers and users than is cannabis. We list a few: tobacco, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, strawberries, athletic over-training, milk, rodeo, peanuts, rare beef, skiing, overcooked beef, corn syrup, Coca-Cola, french fries, football and tight Levis.

Once more, SoDakNORML implores you to use some of your ability in the legislature to change life for the better for South Dakotans. Repeal cannabis possession laws.

Very sincerely yours,

for SoDakNORML

Bob Newland, Hermosa, businessman
Jesse Grimm, Hot Springs, combat veteran
Dennis Bridenstine, Lead, paraplegic
E. J. GreyBuffalo, Sisseton, bone disease sufferer
Ken Santema, Aberdeen, veteran, business owner
Kim Miller, Mitchell, concerned citizen
Brian Knutson, Rapid City, businessman
Loy Allen, Hermosa, manufacturer
Bea White, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative
Judy Stromer, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative
Cecilia Gray, Rapid City, cancer survivor
Vincent Stark, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Matt Mogen, Aberdeen, SD Human Services
Shane Garry, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Zane Holcomb, Buffalo, rancher
Maureen Tracy, Aberdeen, criminal justice specialist
Jeremy Briggs, Rapid City, real estate developer
Steve Norquist, Hill City, contractor
Phillip Smith, Huron, journalist

Andrea Stark, Whitewood, mother
Bradley Morgan, Central City, spinal cord injury
Thomas Diggins, Rapid City, Penn. Asst Public Dfndr


Wendy Roth, Black Hawk, concerned citizen
Jeff Hudson, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Kimberly Landsman, Rapid City, health professional
Tom Gerber, Sturgis, management consultant
Tim Holmgren, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Chris Opitz, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Charles Nauman, Volin, filmmaker & author
Sanford Ader, Rapid City, concerned citizen
Liz Holler, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Jerry Bloomer, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Susanne Bloomer, Hot Springs, concerned citizen
Eugene Huckins, Sturgis, concerned citizen
Wayne Gilbert, Rapid City, legal researcher
C.R. Cundy, Custer, herbal remedy researcher
Cameon Jacobson, PharmD, Rapid City, MS sufferer Josh Houy, Rapid City, attorney

 

Letter to Legislators 5

September 29, 2012 - sent to eblast list

The October 1 Letter to Legislators (right, below) was a hit with some people. We received another $300 within hours after we published it a few days ago. We're now more than halfway to our goal of $1600 to complete the Letters to Legislators campaign.

Funny thing; it will not even be mailed to the current and hope-to-be South Dakota legislators until Monday, October 1.

Briefly, the campaign hopes to send as many as 17 letters (one a week) to each legislator-to-be before the 2013 Legislative Session starts in Pierre in January. Currently that number is 203. After Nov. 6, it will be 105.

The more we think about the number of arrests for possession of a green, leafy, seed-bearing plant, the 82,402 arrests for "marijuana" possession since 1998, the more unsettled we feel. That's a huge number of people to roust for no reason.

We are now considering what to say in Letter to Legislators #5, to be sent Oct. 8. We're thinking we might just provide a few websites that talk about cannabis's medical benefits. A good starting place is Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the pre-eminent website for advocacy of the rights of people to use what works to alleviate their medical conditions.

Health and Human Services claims that “marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” However, more than 6,500 reports and journal articles from around the world support the medical value of cannabis (marijuana).

HHS is right. That's what the law says. It's like when a football referee says, "Incomplete pass," when everyone else who saw the play knows the receiver caught and held the ball. Regardless of actuality, if the referee says the receiver dropped the ball, the receiver dropped the ball.

In 1970, Congress said, via the Controlled Substance Act, that cannabis has "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." Until Congress opens its eyes, or until a federal court overrules that phrase, cannabis, as a legal actuality, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. The player dropped the ball. Never mind that he didn't drop the ball; the referee said he did, so he did.

ASA's site prints excerpts from a startling study; Cannabis Smoking Does Not Cause Cancer. The opposite, in fact, seems to be indicated.

The study included 1,209 residents of Los Angeles aged 18-59 with cancer (611 lung, 403 oral/pharyngeal, 90 laryngeal, and 108 esophageal). Interviewers collected lifetime histories of cannabis, tobacco, alcohol and other drug use, and data on other factors that may influence cancer risk, including diet, occupational exposures, and family history of cancer. Exposure to cannabis was measured in joint years (1 joint year = 365 joints). The cancer patients were compared to 1,040 cancer-free controls. Among the controls 46 per cent had never used cannabis, 31 per cent had used it for less than one joint year, 12 per cent for 10-30 joint years, 2 per cent for 30-60 joint years, and 3 per cent for more than 60 joint years.

Compared with subjects who had used less than one joint year, the risk for lung cancer was 0.78 for 1-10 joint years, 0.74 for 10-30 joint years, 0.85 for 30-60 joint years, and 0.81 for more than 60 joint years. A risk below 1.0 means that the risk for cannabis users was slightly lower than for non-users. Similar results were obtained for the other cancer sites. There was no dose-response relationship of cancer risk, which means that there was no increased risks for more intensive users.

The risk for cannabis users was slightly lower than for non-users. That is HUGE. It indicates that smoking cannabis may deter lung cancer. In fact, a number of studies, going back to the early 1970s, indicate that cannabinoids from cannabis DO shrink tumors. The ASA website quotes studies that show medical benefit to a wide range of patients with a wide range of medical conditions.

With this knowledge, what kind of person would continue to jail someone with MS, AIDS, cancer, Crohn's disease, or any other condition that a patient and his/her physician agree is palliated by cannabis use? The fact is that only a few judges in So. Dak. will even allow a patient and his physician to testify in court about the medical value of cannabis.

In the Oct. 1 Letter to Legislators, SoDakNORML proposes the repeal of laws making possession of cannabis illegal in So. Dak. Unrealistic? Maybe. But it would not be unrealistic to allow "a medical necessity" to be used as a defense in a trial over possession of "marijuana." In fact, it is downright cruel and inhuman not to allow it. Even the NFL allows referees to watch a replay of action on the field, and to change an initial call when the referees see that they were wrong in their first reaction.

When lawmakers refuse to look at the facts and continue to imprison people for attempting to save their own lives, we are left grasping for words to describe their sadistic barbarity. We are forced, however, by the conventions of polite society, to try to use "reasonable" arguments and language when drafting the actual Letters to Legislators.

SoDakNORML still needs about $450.00 (money or postage stamps) to continue our Letters to Legislators campaign. We suggest that you buy a sheet of 20 first-class stamps and an envelope (Walgreens, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Walmart, Post Office). Put one stamp on the envelope. Send the remaining 19 stamps in the envelope to SoDakNORML, 24594 Chokecherry Ridge Rd, Hermosa SD 57744. If 40 of you do that, we'll be just about there.

Send cash (wrapped in a sheet of paper) if you want to. Send a check if you like. Go to PayPal.com and use either your PayPal account or a credit card to send us money (specify it is a gift, so PayPal won't keep any of it in fees).

Go to our Facebook page and LIKE us. SHARE us with your friends.

Our next eblast will contain a draft Letter to Legislators, proposed for Oct. 8.

Until then, keep it between the borrow pits.

Best regards,
Bob Newland
SoDakNORML.org

 

The Oct. 8, 2012 Letter to Legislators follows:

Oct. 8, 2012

Rep. Pious Kindheart
777 Compassion Rd
Empathetic SD 57000

Greetings, Rep. Kindheart;

SoDakNORML has proposed the repeal of SDCL 22-42-6. You should have received a letter last week that outlines that proposal. That is our primary goal.

We are, however, realists. 40 years of advocacy to reform laws that put people in jail for something that does not offend public order has made us realists.

Therefore, in the event 22-42-6 is not repealed, we propose a different adjustment to So. Dak. law. We ask the legislature to allow those charged with a violation of 22-42-6 to tender a defense based on medical necessity, and to present evidence and testimony to support their positions.

While enforcement of 22-42-6 is a wasted enterprise and cruel in its own right, arrest, prosecution and punishment of people who use cannabis to achieve relief from adverse medical conditions is particularly barbaric and heartless. Barring such people from telling their stories in court, and having it matter to the disposition of their cases, makes a travesty of the word “justice.”

That cannabis is of therapeutic value to a large range of patients with a wide range of adverse medical conditions is indisputable.

Please at least do some reading at the website, http://www.safeaccessnow.org, especially the "medical" tab near the top of the page.

One ironic result of South Dakota policy regarding cannabis is that while healthy, active people have no problem acquiring cannabis, those weakened or paralyzed by a variety of serious medical conditions are much less likely to have made the contacts necessary to get a medicine that palliates their conditions. Those most in need are likely to be the least able to fill that need. You can at least remove one fear from their lives, the fear of being in jail for using a safe and effective herb to alleviate their conditions.

Please consider this proposal and respond with any concerns you may have.

Best regards,

for SoDakNORML

Bob Newland, Hermosa, businessman
Jesse Grimm, Hot Springs, combat veteran
Dennis Bridenstine, Lead, paraplegic
E. J. GreyBuffalo, Sisseton, bone disease sufferer
Ken Santema, Aberdeen, veteran, business owner
Kim Miller, Mitchell, concerned citizen
Brian Knutson, Rapid City, businessman
Loy Allen, Hermosa, manufacturer
Bea White, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative Thomas Diggins, PennCo Public Defender

 

Judy Stromer, Rapid City, cancer survivor relative
Cecilia Gray, Rapid City, cancer survivor
Vincent Stark, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Matt Mogen, Aberdeen, SD Human Services
Shane Garry, Whitewood, concerned citizen
Zane Holcomb, Buffalo, rancher
Maureen Tracy, Aberdeen, criminal justice specialist
Jeremy Briggs, Rapid City, real estate developer
Steve Norquist, Hill City, contractor

 

 


Letter to Legislators 4

September 24, 2012 - sent to eblast list

Hello everyone;

For 15 years we have lobbied the legislature to reduce the incidence of crime by eliminating some "non-crimes" from the books. We have presented evidence and testimony that several legislators called "compelling," before they voted against our proposals. We have been vilified and insulted by legislators as well as the attorney general and governor.

I personally don't want any more face-time with legislative committees which refuse to consider the evidence. Our Letters to Legislators campaign is simply a way to present facts to legislators who are then free to continue to ignore them.

My personal mistrust of the legislative process often leads me to somewhat intemperate language, which is why I publish pretty much all of the process of deriving an "official" petition to legislators and candidates in the form of a series of letters. I appreciate the critiques and suggestions provided after publication of an early draft of the letter at right, which is going out October 1.

We're running out of money. The October 1 letter is the last one we have enough stamps to send.

We've received $621 from 11 SoDakNORML members. It costs $91.35 to mail the 203 letters to current and wanna-be legislators. We now have almost all the envelopes we need for the rest of the mailings. We need you to send money or stamps.

We suggest you buy a sheet of 20 stamps (for $9.00) and one envelope. Address the envelope and put one stamp on it. Put the other 19 stamps in the envelope and address it to

SoDakNORML
24594 Chokecherry Ridge Rd
Hermosa SD 57744

Of course, you could send us money while in your underwear by going to PayPal.com and sending money to newland@rapidcity.com (PayPal ID)

Or just send a check (or cash wrapped in a sheet of paper) to the address above.

Two SoDakNORML friends have offered to buy stamps and put them on the envelopes we send them along with folding and stuffing the letters we send them into the envelopes. We've included that in the total donations above. It still costs us $10.00 to send the package to those folks. This allows the letters to be sent from post offices other than Hermosa, as well.

We have heard from two recipients of the Letters to Legislators. One is a current, unopposed for re-election, Republican SD senator. The other is a Republican aspirant in a tight race for the SD House. The attitudes of both would pleasantly surprise most of us. We know we have several friends among the Democrats, but Democrats in the SD Legislature don't have much voice.

Here's stuff you can do that doesn't cost money to help broaden our voice:

Go to Facebook.com and LIKE us. SHARE us. That allows lots of people a chance to see what we're doing who would not otherwise.

Make your own Facebook posts that direct people to our website (this page).

Okay, that's it for this update. Keep the painted side up until we talk again. The Oct. 1 Letter to Legislators follows.

Bob

 

The following letter was mailed on October 1, 2012 to all legislators and legislative candidates in South Dakota.

Oct. 1, 2012

Rep. Fiscal Conservative
$20 Million Saved Rd
Strapped SD 57$$$

Greetings, Rep. Conservative;

SoDakNORML recently obtained some arrest and conviction statistics from the Unified Justice System. Among them:

• Since 1998, 82,402 people in South Dakota have been charged with possession of "marijuana".

• One arrest every 90 minutes. One conviction every 5.5 hours. 24/7/365. For 14 years.

• A number equal to one-in-every-200 South Dakotans is arrested by South Dakota law enforcement every year for possession of “marijuana.”

The benefits of this carnage? “Marijuana” is now more available in South Dakota, cheaper and of better quality than it was in 1999.

The UJS numbers included no cost (to the state) or recovery-of-cost information.

We have noticed that people everywhere are questioning the value of laws that result in arrests on this scale, along with the costs of imprisoning people for offenses that really don’t seem to offend public order. Prohibition laws create cynicism about the law and, especially, law enforcement. We think it tragic that law enforcement personnel must face this cynicism and worse to enforce useless laws.

SoDakNORML implores you to begin to change “marijuana” laws. We believe statistics like those offered above, the money spent for enforcement and imprisonment, and the impotence of these laws to change behavior that is really not threatening anyway, provide fuel to ignite a smoulder of cannabis law reform.

SoDakNORML proposes that the So. Dak. Legislature repeal SDCL 22-42-6 (Possession of marijuana prohibited--Degrees according to amount.).

Doing so would save state law enforcement dollars, remove the staggering profits to unsavory people subsidized by the fact of its illegality, and increase public safety by reducing illegal possession and distribution. Within a framework of legal possession and distribution of cannabis there is room for taxation and regulation, thus providing another incentive to present to taxpayers.

These are changes the people of South Dakota deserve and we look forward to establishing a dialogue with you to begin these efforts now.

Best regards,

Bob Newland, for SoDakNORML
cosigners:
Jesse Grimm, Hot Springs, combat veteran
Dennis Bridenstine, Lead, paraplegic
E. J. GreyBuffalo, Sisseton, degenerative bone disease patient

 


Letter to Legislators 3

13 Sept. 2012

Hello everyone;

We're working on the third Letter to Legislators. The second will be mailed Sept. 17. You can see the first two letters below (right column).

I wanted to see what the current arguments are against legalizing cannabis. I queried on Google, "why should pot be illegal." I got…

http://www.cnbc.com/id/36267223/Why_We_Should_Not_Legalize_Marijuana

"Legalized gambling has not reduced illegal gambling in the United States; rather, it has increased it. This is particularly evident in sports gambling, most of which is illegal. Legal gambling is taxed and regulated and illegal gambling is not. Legal gambling sets the stage for illegal gambling just the way legal marijuana would set the stage for illegal marijuana trafficking."

The author of that and argument is

Dr. Robert L. DuPont
Partner, Bensinger DuPont and Associates
Ex-President, Institute for Behavior and Health
Ex-Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

He almost certainly is related to the DuPonts who patented Nylon the same year the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was passed. The DuPonts who banked at the Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh. Headed by Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury. The Treasury Dept. administered the War on Cannabis, just as it currently administers The War On People Who Use The Stuff The Government Doesn't Want You to Try To Feel Better With. Read more about the DuPonts and Mellon here.

Here's another of DuPont's gems: "The gambling precedent suggests strongly that illegal drug suppliers would thrive by selling more potent marijuana products outside of the legal channels that would be taxed and otherwise restricted. If marijuana were legalized, the only way to eliminate its illegal trade, which is modest in comparison to that of cocaine, would be to sell marijuana untaxed and unregulated to any willing buyer."

"Okay," I thought. "This is at the top of the results on the search, but this guy might not really be clearly expressing the thoughts of all those who love to put people in jail for nothing." I looked at some other sites that came up in the search (Try it! "why should pot be illegal") and I soon discovered that DuPont is as good as it gets. Really, take a search engine ride on a track of…, well, incredible ignorance, to be kind.

So, I think we'll propose what we believe is the best solution to the useless carnage of weed arrests, and we'll ask the legislators and candidates thereto to send us their thoughts on the subject. There will be several fora on which our arguments and the arguments of the Prohibitionists can be discussed. Provided we get any response.

The first forum is this newsletter, 2500 people who have not yet Unsubscribed. We'd like you to subscribe.

Another is the Decorum Forum blog. A steady stream of about 79 people look at it every day.

A third is the SoDakNORML Facebook page.

Fourth, the SoDakNORML website (you're already here).

So, keeping in mind that the following letter will be mailed after we hear from you as to possible improvements, the third Letter to Legislators might go something like what you see at right:

The cost of this entire campaign will be about $1600. So far we have received about $370.00. Most of the cost of the campaign is in postage stamps. Please send us some money. Your $10-bill is a significant step towards the cost of the campaign.

Like us on Facebook. That costs nothing

Donate to SoDakNORML to help finance this campaign.

Join this list (if someone forwarded the letter to you). Write newland@rapidcity.com

 

The following letter was mailed on September 24, 2012 to all legislators and legislative candidates in South Dakota.

Sept. 24, 2012

Hello Senator Grandview;

SoDakNORML believes that putting people in jail for using, having possession of, or selling cannabis is wrong. We'd like to hear your views. We invite you to email us at newland@rapidcity.com to express whether or not you agree with us and why.

Jailing people for using cannabis is jailing people for trying to feel better. It makes no sense.

Cannabis is not dangerous. There is no record of a death from overdose. The effects of cannabis include a mild euphoria, kind of a heightened sense of well-being one might compare to the feeling a few minutes after the second glass of wine, and some brief minimal loss of certain motor skills and concentration ability. In rare cases, short-lived psychotic experiences have resulted. People who experience psychosis often choose not to use cannabis again. If someone breaks a law wherein someone is injured, then that law should be enforced. Using cannabis just does not fit that characterization.

Using law enforcement and court resources to process a few thousand cases of pot possession per year in South Dakota doesn't appear to us to be a fiscally responsible approach to something that is not really even a problem.

The therapeutic benefits of cannabis for a wide range of medical conditions in a wide range of patients are well established. In 1988, Francis L. Young, an administrative law judge for the DEA wrote, "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record."

The DEA continues to be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious.

SoDakNORML would like to know why you believe possession, use or sale of cannabis should remain illegal, if you do. We'd also like to know if you agree with us that it shouldn't remain illegal, or maybe you think some other way is best. We propose a solution. We'd like to hear yours, given that current policy is creating, rather than alleviating a problem.

Our partial solution to the problems caused by the Prohibition of cannabis: Stop jailing people for using or selling cannabis. We identify The Problem as being the jailing of people for using or selling cannabis.

We invite you to engage with us at the Decorum Forum Blog, the SoDakNORML Facebook page, the SoDakNORML website (you're on it), or by emailing (or phoning 605-255-4032) us directly.

We would recommend a good website that presents sensible arguments for Prohibition, but we couldn't find one. Maybe you can. Please send your suggestions.

We do recommend this page as a starting place for those who want to see our side of this argument.

We look forward to your reply,
Bob Newland
for SoDakNORML

co-signers:
Jesse Grimm, Hot Springs, combat veteran
Dennis Bridenstine, Lead, paraplegic
E. J. GreyBuffalo, Sisseton, degenerative bone disease patient

 


Letter to Legislators 2

Another in the series of eblasts to a mailing list, apprising its members of our intent, and asking for help. eblasted 9/7/2012

The first (see below, right column) of what we hope will be 17 Letters to Legislators will be sent this weekend (9/8-9/2012). 203 current and hope-to-be South Dakota legislators will receive by Wednesday a letter (reproduced below in right column) that asks them to reverse a public policy that has caused more harm in our society than any set of laws since alcohol Prohibition, and maybe since slavery was endorsed in law.

The proposed text of the second letter is at right. Let us know what you think of it. We'll print copies next week and mail 'em out Sept. 17, after we hear from all of you with your suggestions for changes, etc.

The second letter will be sent about Sept. 17. This could be the last for a while. Two donors sent enough money to pay the out-of-pocket expenses for the first two letters. In order to conduct this campaign properly, we will need about $1400 more.

The campaign is this: SoDakNORML will send letters to legislators and those who hope to be legislators from now until the next legislative session starts in January. The letters will each put forth a short (one-page) argument as to why legislators should pretty much keep their hands off personal decisions as to which choices made in the pursuit of happiness should be subject to the club (like something made of a tree branch) of criminal prosecution.

All we are asking for in money is the actual cost of stuff we have to buy--envelopes, stamps, ink, and paper.

Four people in four corners of So. Dak. have so far volunteered to fold the letters and stuff the envelopes. We wouldn't mind hearing from a few more who will do that. SoDakNORML will send you everything; all you need to commit is 3-4 hours to fold paper and stuff envelopes (we'll send you everything, including instructions). You just have to live in So. Dak., so the letters will have a SD postmark.

We need $1400 for postage and envelopes and paper. Mostly postage.

After 20-some-years of watching legislators come and go, and being personally-acquainted with several legislators, I believe this campaign has a serious chance of being successful insofar as it might avert any more bullshit laws about cannabis.

It stands a fair chance of changing So. Dak. law to make it less likely that a person found in possession will do jail time . We are not (yet) making specific suggestions about specific laws. What we plan to do first is point out the pointlessness of making it illegal to attempt to feel better by one tack while leaving it legal to attempt to feel better by other tacks.

We have to try to convey these ideas to the legislators in increments of about the same number of words that I have just written.

When I say "we," I generally mean everyone who agrees with me on these issues. When I say "I," I mean I am asking you to send a few bucks to help buy stamps, envelopes, paper and ink or toner. We need about $1400 more to complete this project.

Send money.

SoDakNORML
24594 Chokecherry Ridge Rd
Hermosa SD 57744

PayPal to newland@rapidcity.com (you can use a credit card)

Also spread the word about this campaign.We want to double our cannabis activist list.

Like us on Facebook.

Write your own letter to your legislator, or compose something and send it to me. We have 15 more letters to go.

 

The following letter was mailed on September 17, 2012 to all legislators and legislative candidates in South Dakota.

SoDakNORML
24594 Chokecherry Ridge Rd • Hermosa SD 57744
605-255-4032 • newland@rapidcity.com

Sept. 17, 2012

Rep. Wise Thinker
1111 Statesman Street
Sensible SD 57!!!

Good day, Rep. Thinker;

In 2003, Rep. Hennies invited Bob Newland to address a summer legislative think tank on revisions of the So. Dak. criminal code. Hennies gave Newland three hours to present whatever he wanted to the committee.

Newland asked Mike Gray, author of "Drug Crazy," one of the best books written on the folly of prosecuting people for trying to feel better, to speak to the committee. He also asked Matthew Ducheneaux to come and address the committee.

Newland and Gray each spoke for about half an hour, laying out the facts of the destruction to society caused by the Prohibition of some substances. Then Ducheneaux arrived and told his story.

Matt Ducheneaux broke his neck in a car wreck in 1988. He was paralyzed below his neck, except for some control of his left hand. He suffered exceptional involuntary muscle tremors, common in spinal injuries and disease. These spasms can break bones and eject people from their wheelchairs. A typical medical palliative for "spastic tremors" is Valium. It worked for Matt. It also made his hair fall out and was destroying his liver, and it made him so stoned that life was meaningless. Cannabis also worked for Matt, and it posed no health risk. His doctor, a well-known and respected Sioux Falls physician, signed a statement that Matt carried: "I am aware that Matt Ducheneaux is using cannabis to quell his tremors."

Ducheneaux was arrested in Sioux Falls in 2000 for possession. His trial judge, Patricia Riepel, wanted to be able to give the jury an instruction that if a person commits a "crime" but by so doing prevents a greater harm, then that "crime" is really no crime at all. She was over-ruled by the senior judge in the circuit. That left Ducheneaux with no defense. He was convicted of misdemeanor possession. That's fair, I guess, for a guy who was just trying to save his own life while affecting no other lives adversely. For a while, the DEA even threatened to go after Ducheneaux's doctor's license.

Rep. Hennies asked the committee, "Can't we allow medical use of cannabis to be an affirmative defense in marijuana possession cases?" Judge Tim Dallas Tucker, a committee member, said, "That would be a burden on the courts."

Administering justice would be a burden on the courts.

Ducheneau had been accepted into the Compassionate Investigative New Drug Study commissioned by the FDA, which has sent 300 pre-rolled cannabis cigarets per month to a group of patients for over 30 years. The DEA, however, placed such unreasonable and financially impossible strictures on his government cannabis delivery that it was simply more practical for Ducheneaux to buy his cannabis the same place the rest of us do. He went to the drugstore that requires no proof of age nor any prescription. The same one available to anyone old enough to walk. These are some of the fruits of current policy.

Ducheneaux died in 2005, having aspirated and choked on a device that eliminated teeth-grinding while he slept. Perhaps the 2013 Legislative Session will see a Matthew Ducheneaux Compassionate Cannabis Act enacted.

Best regards,
Bob Newland
for SoDakNORML

cosigners
Jesse Grimm, Hot Springs, combat veteran
Dennis Bridenstine, Lead, paraplegic
E. J. GreyBuffalo, Sisseton, degenerative bone disease patient


Letter to Legislators 1

Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012

Hello everyone;

We intend to mail a letter about once a week to all So. Dak. legislators and candidates between now and the election November 6, and continue to send similar letters to the 105 people elected or re-elected to the So. Dak. legislature about once a week until the 2013 session starts in January.

A draft of the first letter is at right. In response to comments we received about our first message a few days ago, we have tweaked it a little.

Subsequent letters will pick up on the points made in the first letter, as well as on other arguments. The object is to educate those who are elected to push us around, or maybe I should say, "elected to govern us." We believe that it will be difficult for the legislature to maintain the current policy on cannabis Prohibition after its members have read these letters.

We think that repetition and short, hard-hitting propositions and arguments will be more effective than a single letter explaining our position on Prohibition. 

The number of current legislators and hopefuls is about 205. That translates into about $95 per mailing just for postage. Add labels and envelopes and printer supplies and we're up to about $125-$135 per mailing until the election. After the election, we'll be down to about $55-$60 per mailing.

The maximum out-of-pocket cost for the campaign, if we manage to send one letter a week (17 weeks), will be about $1600. 

We received commitments for cash donations for about four weeks worth of mailings as a result of the message most of you received a few days ago, although we haven't received the donations yet. 

In addition to the out-of-pocket expense, we asked for volunteers to fold letters, stuff envelopes with them, and place a return address label and an address label and a stamp on each envelope. We'll print the letters here at SoDakNORML's lavish office complex and mail them with printed labels, envelopes and stamps to the volunteers. The volunteers will fold, stuff, address and stamp the letters and mail them from their local So. Dak. post office (MUST be a So. Dak. post office). Having done this a lot, we estimate that the task will take 3-5 hours for each mailing.

After the message we sent a few days ago, we received three offers from recipients to fold and stuff for at least one mailing. It would sure be nice to hear from a few more of you on that. We also received one commitment to allow us to use a constituent's name as a co-signer of our letters. That person's name appears at the end of the draft letter below. Cosigners from South Dakotans will help convince legislators to listen, even more than the actual content of the letters. 

Given the paltry cost of this campaign, the least expensive we have conducted, and very likely to be the most effective, your contribution of $5, $10, $20 or $50 will be a significant portion of the cost. Dig deep and give 'til it's almost painful. SoDakNORML sincerely believes that this campaign will have a real and beneficial effect on the way cannabis users who encounter unpleasant situations with the law because of their use are treated by the State of South Dakota after the next legislative session.

You can send checks or well-wrapped cash to
SoDakNORML
24594 Chokecherry Ridge Rd
Hermosa SD 57744

You can send donations via PayPal to PayPal ID newland@rapidcity.com . We know of no law requiring disclosure of contributions for this project, and we shall not disclose the names of contributors to anyone.

We'll continue to keep everyone on this list up-to-date on our progress. We'll post details of the campaign at our website, SoDakNORML.org also. We'd like to send the first group of letters by next Monday, Sept. 10.

Best regards, everyone.
Bob Newland for SoDakNORML

 

 

 

SoDakNORML
24594 Chokecherry Ridge Rd
Hermosa SD 57744
605-255-4032
newland@rapidcity.com

Sept. 10, 2012

Rep. Concise Thinker
1111 Statesman St
Sensible SD 57!!!

Best regards, Rep. Thinker;

We believe you want what is best for the majority of South Dakotans. We do, too.

That said, we see no benefit in punishing people with criminal laws and prosecution for using cannabis ("marijuana" is the legal term, a slang term chosen from the vernacular for its sinister sound). Further, we see a great deal of harm being done --to the majority of South Dakotans as well as to those directly affected by arrest and prosecution-- to no apparent purpose.

Current laws regarding cannabis achieve several effects, none of them beneficial.

1. The prices users pay for cannabis is inflated roughly 1700 per cent by the "risk" factor involved in producing, transporting and marketing the product. This benefits the most vicious people on Earth, while making the distribution of the product completely ungovernable.

2. Distribution of cannabis to minors is therefore inevitable. A legal market in cannabis among adults could allow regulations making it more difficult for children to obtain it. The current system guarantees the opposite.

3. The benefit of cannabis to a wide age of people with a wide range of adverse medical conditions is apparent. While cannabis is easily obtained by healthy, active people, it is much harder for a person in a wheelchair to make the contacts necessary to obtain what might be life-sustaining aid from cannabis. One intense irony of current policy is that it denies access to cannabis most efficiently to those whom are most in need of its benefits.

We believe, for these and other reasons, that it goes counter to any interpretation of sound public policy to maintain criminal punishments for anyone for ingestion of cannabis. We believe that adults have the inherent right to ingest cannabis (or anything else they want to ingest). We believe that those accused of possession of "marijuana" should have the right to present evidence of medical use in court and to have juries determine justice from the evidence. We believe that any steps in the direction of improving South Dakota law along these lines is a step in the right direction and we will vigorously support legislators who undertake those steps.

"We" are SoDakNORML, the South Dakota Affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. We are comprised of thousands of South Dakotans arrested, prosecuted, imprisoned, frightened, amused, angered, or marginalized as a result of cannabis Prohibition, a policy so absurd in its derivation and results that it defies characterization.

On behalf of any of the folks described above who want to endorse these sentiments, I am

Bob Newland
President, SoDakNORML

P.S. Please read the essay on the politics of cannabis at the following website: http://hemphasis.net/Politics/politics.htm (the capital P is important).

Co-signed by:
Jesse Grimm, combat veteran, Hot Springs