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

Monday, February 17, 2014

That Brian Gosch. He's a card, eh?

Hermosa SD 2/17/2014 Battle Creek Press International:

On St. Valentine's Day, House Concurrent Resolution 1017 was introduced by: Representatives May, Campbell, Gibson, Hawks, Hawley, Heinert, Hunhoff (Bernie), Killer, Nelson, Olson (Betty), Peterson, Schoenfish, Schrempp, Solum, and Tyler and Senators Frerichs, Bradford, and Lucas.

HCR 1017 asks the federal government to observe the obvious--that hemp is a viable, green, useful agricultural product. It came out of nowhere, except that the recently passed federal "Farm Bill" contains a provision that will allow farmers and gardeners in Colorado and Washington to grow hemp and attempt to sell it for purposes excluding ingestion, except for the seeds and seed oil, which are okay to eat.

15 years ago, a group calling itself the South Dakota Industrial Hemp Council asked So. Dak. Rep. Bob Weber, a Republican farmer to introduce legislation that would remove criminality for So. Dak. farmers who wanted to grow hemp. It had no practical value, since if anybody grew hemp, the feds would have taken their farm for "manufacture of a controlled substance." It was the opening shot in a guerrilla  campaign that has lasted 15 years.

Several law enforcement agencies and the attorney-general's office testified that hemp fields would make So. Dak. mothers stop producing breast milk. Rep. Weber remarked that no one was too concerned about 200-proof alcohol being stored in swimming pool-sized tanks at ethanol plants without much security.

Since then, and the So. Dak. Industrial Hemp Council ( have lobbied several legislative acts and petition drives to codify the obvious, the obvious being necessity of committing criminal acts in order to live a somewhat normal life.

The arguments of those who opposed us are summed up by the hapless Charlie McGuigan, butt-boy "legislative liaison" for whomever has been Attorney General of South Dakota for the last 20 years. McGuigan said, "There are over 400 carciginians in marijuana smoke." McGuigan may have gotten mixed up over the historical 300 Spartans (Carthage and Carthaginians were nearby) who defended the Pass at Thermopylae. Or it may be that McGuigan simply had no fucking idea of what the fuck he was taking about.

In any case, last Friday a piece of legislative meaninglessness came to the floor of the So. Dak. House, asking the federal government and law enforcement agencies to recogfuckingnize that hemp has value.

There are a few curious things about HCR 1017. First, House Speaker Brian Gosch waived the requirement for a committee hearing, where the resolution would have faced opponents and proponents other than members of the House. Second, it was proposed by a Republican, Elizabeth May, from Kyle. Third, it passed on a floor vote in the House by 61-6. Fourth, there was no news coverage, period.

During the floor discussion, Speaker Gosch recognized "Representatives 'Cheech and Chong'," which drew raucous laughter, apparently so funny to a couple of people that they were immobilized. Rep. Don Haggar asked the sponsor if hemp made good cover for game birds. Rep. May replied that it did. Rep.Haggar subsequently voted against the resolution, as did Speaker Gosch, along with Reps. Lance Russell, Brock Greenfield, Leslie Heinemann, Jenna Haggar and Ann Hajek.

State Senator Cecil Hardwhack (R-Deers Ears) said, "Hemp will provide cover for pheasants? Jesus! What the fuck was Haggar thinking?"

Rep. Louvely Bestworst (D-Isabella) said, "I didn't understand the joke about, who was it? Cheech and Chung? Why did everybody laugh? I don't think there are Representatives Cheech and Chung here."

You can listen to the floor discussion in the SoDak House at the following link. The discussion on HCR 1017 runs from about minute 7 to about minute 20.

No comments: