Home State Blues, or What's an Itinerant Activist To Do?

Your itinerant Drug War Chronicle has been bouncing around North America for the last few years, spending significant amounts of time in Washington state, British Columbia, Mexico, Northern California, and my home state, South Dakota. The traveling is nice, but I’ve felt politically homeless, as if my presence anywhere were too fleeting for me to be able to do local or state-level politics, and that’s a frustration. So, as much as I would rather be elsewhere, I’m thinking I need to hunker down here in Dakotaland and try to get something done. It is not friendly territory. South Dakota is the only state where voters rejected an initiative to allow the medicinal use of marijuana. Although it was a close vote, 52% to 48%, it was still a loss. Medical marijuana bills (introduced by an acquaintance of mine) early in the decade went nowhere. The state has one of the fastest growing prison populations right now, thanks largely to its approach to methamphetamine use. Marijuana possession is routinely punished by $500 fines, and there is a good chance of jail time, too. (In fact, you may be better off being convicted of drunk driving, if my local court records are any indication.) And, most hideously of all, South Dakota is the only state I know of that has an “internal possession” law. That means when the police arrest you with a joint, they make you submit to a urine test, then charge you with an additional offense if you test positive. South Dakota judges also routinely sign drug search warrants that include forced drug tests. I know one gentleman currently serving a five-year prison sentence for “internal possession” of methamphetamine metabolites, and no, it wasn’t a plea bargain. That was the only charge they had. South Dakota’s drug reform community (which can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand) seems beaten down, but I think I’m going to reach out and see if I can’t get anyone interested in a four-pronged drug reform legislative package: Hemp. Our neighbors in North Dakota have passed a bill allowing farmers to grow hemp and are currently suing the DEA to force it out of the way. South Dakota farmers would like to make profits, too. Medical marijuana. Yeah, we lost a close one last year, and it’s never been able to get any traction in the legislature. But I think we should make them deal with it again. Our neighbors in Montana seem to be surviving medical marijuana. Marijuana decriminalization. Does South Dakota really think pot possession is more serious than drunk driving? Does the legislature understand the lifelong impact of pot conviction on its constituents? Our neighbors in Nebraska decriminalized pot back in the 1970s, and the cornfields are still standing. Repeal of the internal possession laws. Criminalizing someone for the content of his blood or urine is just wrong. Winning any of these will be an uphill battle, and perhaps even linking hemp to broader drug reform issues would spell its doom here. But I think it’s every good activist’s responsibility to do what he can to slow down the drug war juggernaut, so I’m going to give it a shot. What are you doing in your state?
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Reserch on legalization in ND

Well Phillip actually I am trying to do some reserch on the best way to proceed with getting medicinal cannabis legal in ND. My exp. working as a team with police, Doctors, nurses, paitents on past jobs includeing a medical detox. Iv also gotten support in the past and met Senator Hubert Humphery and off the record conversations on peoples thoughts about Medicinal Cannabis.

This is also something Iv thought about and reserched for a long time. Since medically its made a difference with my severe neuropathic pain and looking at my electric wheelchair rather than sitting in it. I desided I wanted to slow the brain damage down and live, rather than die. If not for it actually changeing the course of my MS and having science and medical records to prove to me its worth it I wouldnt of ran across your article.

Doing good reserch on what exactly will pass in ND on all levels is of utter importance to me. Once I make that decision to obstain 100% it wont take long before I go from walking, staggering, slurred speech and pretty much being mistaken for being mentally challanged. I think I would have at least 4 months. Then I would need to have enough people in place to do what I cant, help convince the voters in ND that we should have compassionate use legalized and be advocates for those like myself. In a poll taken we have a majority who agree with it. They just dont want it turning into a fiasco as it has in some cases in California with the feds busting dispencaries, people getting permits that ought not have them. I think I would like to set up a independent commitee to achieve this since I am not willing to lend support to a group that advocates anything other than medicinal use.

If you know of some good resources that will help me please feel free to email me. I actually liked SDs logo. and would like to know where you feel advocates for compassionate use there lacked in getting it passed if they did that is.

I wish you the best, Grandma

Arizona is just as bad if not worse!

"they" get you on a traffic stop. Something as little as the light above your license plate is out. Next thing you know you are being accused of all sorts of things, dragged down to the court house for a UA. NO EVIDENCE in necessary. They get that UA and can charge you up the wazoo for simply a metebolite in your system! Its not right. It's illegal. It's all about money

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