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

Monday, October 22, 2012

The continuous argument over who gets to do what to whom

This is an eblast sent to the SoDakNORML email list tonight.

Hello Everyone;

Next Monday, Oct. 22, SoDakNORML will send out the 8th of 17 Letters to Legislators on behalf of every person in South Dakota who is offended by the barbarity of prosecuting people with a hundred different tortures for the "crime" of possessing cannabis. Letter 8 will be sent with the "Stop Jailing Cannabis Users" postage stamp.

Following is a first draft of that proposed letter. We publish the Letters to Legislators in advance when we can. This one will be printed on Thursday, so if you have any comments, please REPLY with them soon. We appreciate your observations, although we have trouble consistently adhering to your suggestions. Don't let that deter you from asking, "Have you lost your mind?"
Oct. 29, 2012 
Rep. John Smith
; Somewhere in South Dakota
 Greetings, Rep. Smith;
Lewis Lapham, editor of the Atlantic Monthly, said, "Politics is the continuous argument over who gets to do what to whom, for how long, and against what degree of dissent. 
"Winners" might be defined as the "gets to do" in Lapham's statement, and "losers" the "to whom." 
SoDakNORML knows that each reader of this letter is aware that the segment of the public questioning the efficacy of laws Prohibiting possession or use of cannabis is growing. We who oppose Prohibition see starkly the effects of Prohibition and we see no benefits from it. Whether or not our vision is clear depends on how one defines "benefits," of course. As with all programs instituted by the State, there are winners and there are losers. The degree of dissent is growing. 
That leads us to the politics of the possible. SoDakNORML will begin to explore the possibilities next week, at least as we see them. We'd like to hear from recipients of this letter who'd like to join in the exploration. Good luck to all of you on Nov. 6. 
Below we have listed a few internet sites that contain pertinent information. We hope you will take a look. SoDakNORML would like to hear from anyone of a sound argument for Prohibition published in any form, online, printed, broadcast, whatever. We may sometimes assume too much, but we don't assume that all 203 people who have been receiving these letters agree with us. We can't learn anything from those who disagree with us until we face a coherent argument from them. 
Melanie Dreher, dean of nursing at Rush University Medical Center: "We found in a study [of working class men in Jamaica, 30 of whom were chronic users for the past 10 years] that cannabis users performed significantly better than non-users on the psychiatric and physiological battery of tests."

‪Should Grandma Smoke Pot?
Judge Richard A. Posner, a member of the influential United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, is an intellectual giant who is the most-cited judge in America. His call for legalization is significant because Posner is considered a legal conservative. 
“I don’t think we should have a fraction of the drug laws that we have. I think it’s really absurd to be criminalizing possession or use or distribution of marijuana,” he said. 
Very best regards and, again, Good Luck next week!  
//Signed by a group of more than 40 South Dakotans who want the legislature to Stop Jailing Cannabis Users.
The following will probably not be included in the letter above. We were looking for a good argument for cannabis Prohibition in the South Dakota Republican Party Platform. We're not sure whether this supports us or not. What do you think?

Platform of the South Dakota Republican Party, Health and Human Services plank:
We will not put government between patients and their health care providers. The South Dakota Republican Party believes the key to real reform is to give control of the health care system to patients and their health care providers, not bureaucrats in government or business. 
We strongly support market-based reforms that are consumer-driven and targeted to reducing costs and increasing access. We strongly support the fundamental right of a patient to choose their own physician and respect the importance of treatments focused on the patient's well-being.

We checked out the South Dakota Democratic Party platform, but it just said "If Democrats love everyone, they'll love us back." Sorry, Democrats, but the Republicans say what they're gonna do, then ignore it when they get annoyed by pot smokers. You Democrat guys and gals gotta come up with a sturdy platform for your elected officials to ignore. 
The Libertarians, of course, support our position. We don't know if Libertarians will ignore their party platform once elected because we haven't ever elected one.
Let SoDakNORML know what you think of our 8th Letter to Legislators.

Best regards,
Bob Newland, for SoDakNORML

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