On Feb. 24, So. Dak. Rep. Steve Hickey (R-Sioux Falls) posted on Facebook: "My daughter's comment on the far right's opposition to my death penalty repeal: 'They want government to be weak but strong enough to kill people.'"
Based on a couple of years of sporadic exchanges with Rep. Hickey, I find that remark ironic. Assuming that Rep. Hickey agrees with his daughter (why else would he post it?), and given his public statements on a number of issues, I find it so ironic that I spent some time today beating my forehead against the angle of a doorframe.
Prior to the 2013 legislative session, SoDakNORML supplied every So. Dak. legislator--once a week for 17 weeks-- with 17 arguments to quit giving people criminal records for simply attempting to feel better. Three legislators promised me they they would look at the evidence. One, Sen. Tieszen (R-Rapid City), did so after I asked him if he would. Rep. Hickey emailed me, saying he was looking at the evidence. So did Rep. Kaiser (R-Aberdeen).
Of 105 legislators in So. Dak., only three responded to even one of 17 letters, each letter proposing an argument to make pot laws saner. Kaiser and Tieszen co-sponsored a bill to allow medical cannabis use in So. Dak. On the committee that first heard the bill, Rep. Hickey's was the deciding vote that killed the proposal..
Today, in another Facebook post, speaking of a friend, a medical cannabis user who lobbied him on behalf of the bill, Hickey said, "I didn't leave my friend Scott. In fact I looked at both sides of this twice as long because of him. At the end of the day the downside outweighed the upside in my estimation. I've come to believe that there are people who exploit compassion for the hurting because they just want legalized weed. I'm not convinced it's their only medical hope nor do I believe it's dose strength is consistent. I do know healing prayer works."
As a result of that statement, I have one question for Rep. Hickey. "What is the downside of letting sick, disabled and dying people use an herb, to the use of which no death has been credited in history, to palliate their suffering?" Some say cannabis is the answer to their prayers.
[UPDATE 3/1) You can see the course of this discussion at https://www.facebook.com/bob.newland .
[UPDATE 3/1.1) Really, you should take a look at the course of that discussion.