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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

So unjust it defies characterization...

The easiest thing for a legislator to do is nothing. That becomes less easy when she hears from a few people in her district about a law that is so unjust that it defies characterization. In South Dakota, state law specifically excludes a self-defense or "prevention of a greater harm" defense for using cannabis medically.

Accused of murder or manslaughter? You have the option of producing evidence that you acted in self-defense, a version of "prevention of a greater harm" (He would have killed me had I not killed him).

Accused of theft? "I took the car to drive the woman to the hospital, because she was dying." Prevention of a greater harm. Cases like these are rare, but they do occur.

Accused of assault? "He hit me first. He would have hit me again." Prevention of a greater harm. Cops, prosecutors, judges and juries listen to and consider these arguments often.

Accused of a violation of 22-42-6? You have evidence that without cannabis, life is a much more bleak proposition for you than with it. Your doctor agrees. Doesn't matter.

You are not allowed to present the "prevention of a greater harm" defense when you're accused of possession of cannabis. 

In other words South Dakota law says that misery or death in your life is a lesser harm than the principle involved in preventing you from using a life-sustaining herbal remedy.

South Dakota Senator Craig Tieszen and Representative Dan Kaiser have committed to introducing the Medical Necessity Act in the South Dakota legislative session which began January 8 and will continue for 35 days.

Now we need the support of other credible legislators. You can help by contacting your legislators and asking them to support this bill. No sane person can oppose it, but if there is no apparent support, your legislators can just ignore it. Do this now! This bill will be submitted before Jan. 26, 2013.

Also take the time to let Sen. Tiezsen and Rep. Kaiser know how much you appreciate their doing the right thing while expending "political capital" in doing so.

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