Pubdate: Tue, 28 Sep 2010
Source: Rapid City Journal (SD)
Copyright: 2010 The Rapid City Journal
Author: Lynn Taylor Rick


Bruce Price attended Tuesday's medical marijuana rally for his

Price said his dad was diagnosed with melanoma in 1985, and the
medical treatment for the cancer made him "so sick."

A military man, Price's father initially rejected his son's suggestion
to try medical marijuana for relief. "His mindset was totally against
it," Price said. "But at the end he was open to it."

Price believes the medical marijuana was the only thing that gave his
dad relief at the end of his life, and he wants to see the drug
legalized for medical purposes so others can be helped as well.

"This just has to change," he said.

About 100 people gathered at Memorial Park Tuesday evening for the
Rally for Compassion, put on by the South Dakota Coalition for
Compassion. The Coalition has spearheaded the campaign for Initiated
Measure 13, which calls for the legalization of medical marijuana in
South Dakota. Fourteen other states have medical marijuana laws.

South Dakota voters will have a chance to vote on Measure 13 in
November, and Coalition for Compassion campaign director Emmett
Reistroffer urged rally attendees to spread the truth about the initiative.

"There are some opponents out there lying (about the measure)," he
said. Reistroffer encouraged them to set the record straight.

Reistroffer said it is important that voters understand that
Initiative Measure 13 would allow marijuana use only for medical
reasons. The group is not pushing for full legalization, he said.

Supporters of the measure call it one of the strictest in the country;
a law that will require patients to have established relationships
with doctors and to be closely monitored by the Department of Health.
There can be no dispensaries under Measure 13 and patients cannot
drive while using the medication, said retired Denver police officer
Tony Ryan, a proponent of the measure.

Ryan said opponents have suggested that it will be impossible to
enforce the South Dakota law. But Ryan doesn't buy it. Medical
marijuana patients will be required to carry cards from the Department
of Health proving that they have a prescription for the marijuana, he

"Having been there for 36 years (as a police officer), I don't see the
problem. It's just asking for another form of ID," he said.

Patrick Lynch, former chairman for the North-Central States chapter of
the Multiple Sclerosis Society, also spoke at the rally. As the
official sponsor of Measure 13, Lynch said he speaks from experience
of the benefits of medical marijuana.

The 47-year-old Sioux Falls man was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis
20 years ago. The medication prescribed to control the muscle spasms
common in MS patients left him unable to function, he said. With
encouragement from another MS patient, he tried medical marijuana and
got instant relief from spasms without the foggy feeling, he said.
"This was a medicine I could deal with," he said.

Lynch encouraged the crowd to get out and spread accurate information
to voters.

"You are the foot soldiers," he said. "We need to help the patients."
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