What follows is an actual bill as it has twice been presented to a legislative committee (2002, 2009).
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.
In 2002, general consciousness was not sufficient to allow for much discussion. In 2009, we still had not paved the way sufficiently.
Currently, I think there is an excellent chance of obtaining credible support for this or a similar proposal. Intuitively, it is a winner. Most folks don't understand that you can not tell a jury that the cannabis you were arrested for is essential to your well-being. You are not allowed to present evidence that, for instance, your doctor agrees with you that cannabis allows you to eat while undergoing nausea-inducing chemotherapy, thus allowing you to maintain strength to fight off infection.
That is simply wrong. A legislator who disagrees with that is less than in tune with the whole principle on which our justice system is supposedly based. That legislator, in order to be consistent, would have to advocate prison for a hunter lost in a blizzard who jimmies a cabin door in order to avoid freezing to death.
As a political blog, we have the potential to influence South Dakota legislators to do the right thing. What do you think?