SoDakNORML.org

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

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Help us pass the

South Dakota Medical Necessity Act
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SoDakNORML sends letters to legislators.

All that is necessary to allow the evil of denying people an effective, safe herbal remedy is for you to do nothing.

 

Help us pass the
South Dakota Medical Necessity Act
Last Updated 1/16/2013

The easiest thing for a legislator to do is nothing. That becomes less easy when she hears from a few people in her district about a law that is so unjust that it defies characterization. In South Dakota, state law specifically excludes a self-defense or "prevention of a greater harm" defense for using cannabis medically.

Accused of murder or manslaughter? You have the option of producing evidence that you acted in self-defense, a version of "prevention of a greater harm" (He would have killed me had I not killed him).

Accused of theft? "I took the car to drive the woman to the hospital, because she was dying." Prevention of a greater harm. Cases like these are rare, but they do occur.

Accused of assault? "He hit me first. He would have hit me again." Prevention of a greater harm.

Cops, prosecutors, judges and juries listen to and consider these arguments often.

Accused of a violation of 22-42-6? You have evidence that without cannabis, life is a much more bleak proposition for you than with it. Your doctor agrees. Doesn't matter.

You are not allowed to present the "prevention of a greater harm" defense when you're accused of possession of cannabis.

In other words South Dakota law says that misery or death in your life is a lesser harm than the principle involved in preventing you from using a life-sustaining herbal remedy.

South Dakota Senator Craig Tieszen and Representative Dan Kaiser have committed to introducing the Medical Necessity Act in the South Dakota legislative session which began January 8 and will continue for 35 days.

Now we need the support of other credible legislators. You can help by contacting your legislators and asking them to support this bill. No sane person can oppose it, but if there is no apparent support, your legislators can just ignore it. Do this now! This bill will be submitted before Jan. 26, 2013. Your legislators should place their names as sponsors on this bill!

Also take the time to let Sen. Tiezsen and Rep. Kaiser know how much you appreciate their doing the right thing while expending "political capital" while doing so.

Take action now!

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.
 
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.

Copy the message below and send it to your legislators. See below for how you can contact them by email or by snail mail.


+++++++++++++++++++++
 
 
Sen. (or Rep.) [insert name];

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. Put your email address where it says "From" at the top. 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.

 

The 2013 South Dakota Medical Necessity Act

The language below is what legislators will vote on. A majority of "Yes" votes at every stage of the legislative process will assure that people accused of a violation of SDCL 22-42-6 will have a shot at showing evidence that his or her medical use of cannabis prevents a greater harm.

Please help support this bill!


 
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.


 

The bill above was presented in 2001 by Rep. Tom Hennies. It was killed in its first committee appearance. Almost no one from those days is still in the So. Dak. legislature.

It was presented again in 2009 by Rep. Lange. It appeared in the Judiciary Committee. It was killed again. Some of the folks listed here are still around. This is from Feb. 4, 2009...

MOTION:     DEFER HB 1102 TO THE 41ST LEGISLATIVE DAY

Moved by:    Turbiville
Second by:    Feinstein
Action:    Prevailed by roll call vote. (12-1-0-0)

Voting Yes:    Engels, Feinstein, Gibson, Gosch, Hamiel, Hoffman, Hunt, Killer, Lust, Schlekeway, Turbiville, Cutler

Voting No:    Moser

         HB 1128: allow a medical necessity to be used as a defense in certain cases involving the possession or use of marijuana.

Presented by:    Representative Gerald Lange
Proponents:    Tom Faltynowicz, Self, Rapid City
        Tony Ryan, Self, Sioux Falls
        Bob Newland, Self, Hermosa
Opponents:    Charles McGuigan, Office of the Attorney General


 

Following is the law under which almost all "marijuana" arrests are made in South Dakota.

SDCL 22-42-6.   Possession of marijuana prohibited--Degrees according to amount.

No person may knowingly possess marijuana.

It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to possess two ounces of marijuana or less.

It is a Class 6 felony to possess more than two ounces of marijuana but less than one-half pound of marijuana.

It is a Class 5 felony to possess one-half pound but less than one pound of marijuana.

It is a Class 4 felony to possess one to ten pounds of marijuana.

It is a Class 3 felony to possess more than ten pounds of marijuana.

A civil penalty may be imposed, in addition to any criminal penalty, upon a conviction of a violation of this section not to exceed ten thousand dollars.