Saturday, February 02, 2013

Bob Newland's support of hemp in South Dakota

This in yesterday from Bob Newland of South Dakota:
Feb 1, 2013

Hello everyone:
Yesterday, Jan. 31, the Medical Necessity Act was heard in the So. Dak. House Health and Education Committee.

You can listen to the entire testimony on the Medical Necessity Act by clicking on the following link. (You'll probably have to wait a few minutes for the stream to download.)

Testimony on HB 1227 (Medical Necessity Act) starts at about 2/3 of the way along the timeline provided by the slider on the media player, and lasts until the end of the recording.
Proponents of the bill who testified in the committee hearing were the prime sponsors, Rep. Dan Kaiser of Aberdeen SD, a city police officer, and Sen. Craig Tieszen, former police chief in Rapid City SD., and Emmett Reistroffer of SIoux Falls (So. Dak. Families First), Dr. Gus Hercules of Rapid City, and Bob Newland of Hermosa SD.
Testifying against the bill were the Director of the Division of Criminal Investigation, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol, a lobbyist for the Attorney General, a lobbyist for the So. Dak. States Attorneys, the States Attorney for Minnehaha County, the lobbyists for police chiefs and for the sheriffs' assn., and one other jerk.

Eight opponents, all scared to death that the nationwide trend toward decriminalization of cannabis will infect South Dakota.

In six legislative attempts to change cannabis laws in So. Dak., we have never seen more than three opponents testify in any hearing. Often there was only one, because the opponents knew that the committee would recognize that we reformists are crazy and they didn't need to waste their time refuting our testimony.
No finality was reached. The committee ran out of time, and committee discussion and a vote as to whether to let the bill go to the full House of Reps for a vote was postponed until Feb. 5.

Today, the Rapid City (SD) Journal published a story on the hearing. The headline is "Pot bill: Compassion or gateway legislation?"
The Journal story characterizes my testimony in one phrase: "Bob Newland of Hermosa described marijuana as 'a benign herb.'"

That pretty well exemplifies Richard Cowan's (former director of NORML National) statement that the reason we are still fighting the war on some drugs is "bad journalism."

I'll close with the text of the testimony I presented.

I'm Bob Newland. I live near Hermosa SD.
No one hearing my voice today believes what is codified in South Dakota and federal law, that there is "no medical use" for cannabis. To believe that in light of the evidence available is akin to the mindset that placed Galileo under house arrest for 40 years for saying that the Earth revolved around the sun.
In the course of my advocacy for saner drug laws during the last 20 years, I have become acquainted with dozens of people in south Dakota whose lives have been miserably affected by the attacks of horrible symptoms like those described by the two proponents whose testimony I just read. A huge and growing body of medical evidence supports that testimony.
HB 1227 is not a pro-pot bill. It is a justice bill. It is a bill that will give people who use cannabis to treat their misery the right to argue in court that they are violating the law because they are preventing a greater harm.
Prevention of a greater harm is an established principle of common law and is allowed as a defense in any criminal case in South Dakota, except for cases of possession or ingestion of cannabis.
South Dakota law says that the destruction of a human life by consequences of accidents and diseases is a lesser harm than the alleviation of miserable symptoms by use of a benign herb.
South Dakota provides for an argument of self-defense if I kill someone or beat someone up or if I borrow a car without permission to drive someone, or myself, to a hospital. But it denies me an argument of self-defense if I use cannabis to prolong or sustain my own life against the attacks of vicious diseases. A crime for which no victim is apparent.
There can only be one reason to sustain this injustice. That will be that the So. Dak. legislature does not trust its police, prosecutors, judges and juries to view and assess the credibility of evidence presented by people whose lives are being destroyed by forces they can only fight with the use of this marvelous herb. Yet these same authorities are charged with the responsibility of assessing the credibility of evidence in other cases every day.
Please stand up for justice. Vote to pass 1227 on to the House floor.

So, now we have to see what happens Tuesday.

Best regards,


Mark Ski said...

I like this Bob guy, not just his sartorial eloquence, but the fact that he wants people to write to their reps - each person has about 3- this is how it goes.
and signing that petition is another step -
Make 2013 happen for hemp!

GOPbuster said...

Bob is right, we need to be writing the reps, and following up with calls if they do not respond.

Carlos said...

What about the hemp movement that believes in smoking dope, complaining, getting the munchies and then whining that nothing is getting done?
That is the agenda for most hempsters! Ask any of them if they ever wrote their congressman and you will get a stupid look.
or signed the petition at www/
We need more people like Bob.

Phil Telic said...

Bob has the right idea - write to your politicians and get them to do their jobs.
And get on the journalists too.