The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The face of Measure 13

Emmett Reistroffer is 19, maybe 20 by now, a graduate of a Sioux Falls high school. His mother suffers from lupus and has been known to use cannabis to alleviate the pain.

Back when I was merely a certified public nuisance, before I was a felon, I used to agitate around the state for removal of criminal penalties against people who were merely attempting to feel better.

Part of that included my repetitive suggestion that doctors and patients be allowed to decide on courses of therapy for the conditions suffered by the patients. Emmett contacted me a couple of years ago and we worked together on preparing IM13.

When I got popped for felony possession in March of 2009, it became untenable for me to continue in a leadership or organizational role in bringing the medical cannabis issue to a public vote. The principal damage done by the court order barring me from a public role in any "legalization" issue was that I couldn't raise funds for the campaign without risking the ire of the court.

Emmett (shown in both photos, shot at the 2009 Hemp Hoe Down) spent a year working a job and raising money and organizing a petition drive which successfully submitted about twice as many signatures in April 2010 as were necessary for ballot certification. This is not fully appreciable to people who haven't tried a similar feat. In the 13 states which created medical cannabis laws by petition-and-ballot, no state ballot committee succeeded in ballot certification without significant financial help from out-of-state.

Measure 13, under Emmett's leadership, achieved the ballot in South Dakota with no out-of-state funding. I am in awe.

The campaign for Measure 13 still needs money, of course, and it deserves help. It would be a pity if the current wave of more sensible thinking about cannabis were to fail at the polls for lack of a few commercials and a get-out-the-vote push.

Check out your options for helping at the website.

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