Pubdate: Tue,  3 Apr 2001
Source: Pierre Capital Journal (SD)
Copyright: Pierre Capital Journal, South Dakota newspapers 2001
Author: Bob Newland
Note: This was also published in the Pierre Times (SD) on April 5.


In his March 23 editorial, City Editor Dana Hess made several assertions
about cannabis ("marijuana"), including only one concise and accurate
remark: ". . . the war on drugs has been a losing battle."

However, the balance of his comments are nonsense, mighty nigh

"The notion that we should be able to legalize marijuana for medicinal
use is one of the great urban legends of our time," he says. "The legend
is that there is some magic way to make it legal for a doctor to permit
a patient to use marijuana," he continues. 

Hess works in the shadow of the state capitol, where, each January and
February, 105 South Dakotans gather and make about 200 new laws each
year which govern the lives and actions of all within the state. Statute
laws, Mr. Hess. Made by fallible humans. Changeable. Repealable.
Amendable. They're not God's laws, which are universal and timeless. 

For example, there once was a law which prohibited sale or transport of
alcohol, although it allowed people to brew or distill alcohol for
personal use. The alcohol prohibition law resulted in lots of violence
in the streets as rival liquor dealers fought over customers. It also
doubled, in fourteen years, the number of alcoholics in the United
States. Implemented in 1919, Prohibition was repealed in 1933 after The
People got sick of the carnage it caused. 

That was not "magic". It was politicians finally seeing which way the
wind was blowing after folks kicked up enough dust. 

Hess says he doesn't "argue with folks who say marijuana has a soothing
effect . . . ." What!? He admits it may have medicinal value, but he
thinks it will take magic to make it available to folks who need it? How

Nine states allow those within their borders to use cannabis under a
doctor's supervision. Three allow cultivation of industrial hemp. That's
not "moot". It's reality. 

Our petition drives to get industrial hemp and medical cannabis on the
ballot in 2002 will succeed. We already know that four out of five South
Dakota voters agree with us. As we further educate the voters on the
absurdity of current policy, the amount of dust we raise will attract

Mark my words. Within two years, Tom Daschle will be saying "I've always
been in favor of industrial hemp." Tim Johnson will be saying, "Of
course cancer patients should have access to cannabis." John Thune will
be saying, "It's stupid to imprison people simply for trying to feel

Even these men are astute enough to sense the wind's direction, given
enough dust. I'm not so sure about Mr. Hess.
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