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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Repeal SDCL 22-42-6

For 15 years we have lobbied the legislature to reduce the incidence of crime by eliminating some 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 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 following letter. This (below) is the one going out October 1.

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

1 comment:

taco said...

Right on. My check will be sent in the next 10 days.