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

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Being annoyed on a Thursday afternoon...

The Forum gets looked at by about 30 "unique" visitors a day. Some probably check it in ever-more-frustrated hope it will get more interesting, as it has been known to be, occasionally, back in the day.

Some blogs have one million times that amount of unique visitors per day. The Forum knows where its place is on the feed trough.

That said, the Forum is advocating an issue that may or may not appear in the legislature this year. The issue is whether South Dakota will specifically prohibit the common law affirmative defense of "prevention of a greater harm" ONLY WHEN THE ACCUSATION IS "POSSESSION" OR "INGESTION" OF "MARIJUANA."

Accusations of murder, kidnapping, robbery, even embezzlement, can be defended with a "prevention of greater harm" argument. The judge might not allow an argument so ludicrous as to make a mockery of the system, but the judge has latitude to allow the defense if he thinks his reasoning will stand up to Supreme Court review. EXCEPT WHEN THE ACCUSATION IS "POSSESSION" OR "INGESTION" OF "MARIJUANA."

It's almost universally accepted that cannabis has some therapeutic value among some patients (much like "conventional" medicine). Yet "possession of marijuana" is a crime for which one has no defense, not even "self-defense," which is advanced in every prosecution for a bar brawl where somebody gets beat up or killed.

Sen. Tieszen and Rep. Kaiser are, or will soon be, lobbying for co-sponsors in their chambers for the "Medical Necessity Act." Heard from the Capitol today that "we're struggling for co-sponsors," meaning the two prime sponsors and a group that is also lobbying in Pierre for our bill, "South Dakota Families First. We can't seem to sell our idea very well. Crazy, ain't it?

We're told that a typical response when asked to co-sponsor the Medical Necessity Act is, "I want to wait to hear the arguments in committee and on the floor." Without "influential," "Republican," support, only the ten or twelve committee members in the first committee "hearing," who sense no appetite for the concept of "medical marijuana," will kill the bill, and nobody else will hear the "arguments" the committee ignored.

The easiest thing for a legislator to do is nothing, and that's what most of them will do most of the time, especially when what we want them to do will not influence the cost of services or benefit to taxpayers by more than a few thousand dollars a year, if it's even measurable.

Tieszen and Kaiser are, I believe, prisoners of conscience on the issue of "prevention of a greater harm." "Prisoner of conscience" refers to the allowability of introducing an occasional quirky bill, often a favor to a constituent, that has no chance of traction in the South Dakota Legislature. Just don't do it too often, or you stand a chance of being Klouceked.

The Medical Necessity Act will probably have one hearing, be deferred to the 36th day, and legislators who voted to thus kill the bill will be applying their logical agility to the 80 or 90 new laws contained within the Criminal Justice Initiative.

A few dozen people in chronic pain or life-threatening nausea just aren't a big enough constituency for the legislature to take seriously.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bob Newland said...

I deleted the comment above because the author posted as "Anonymous." Read the rules.