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South Dakota Judge Sentences Marijuana Reform Activist to Shut Up

South Dakota's most well-known marijuana legalization advocate, Bob Newland, was sentenced yesterday to a year in the Pennington County Jail with all but 45 days suspended for felony marijuana possession--a little less than four ounces. Once he does his time, he'll be on probation for a year. Newland can, I suppose, consider himself fortunate. According to the South Dakota Department of Corrections, there are currently six people imprisoned for possession of less than half a pound and seven for more than half but less than one pound, as well as 14 doing time for distribution of less than an ounce and another 25 doing time for distribution of less than a pound. But in another respect, Newland is not so lucky. He has basically been stripped of his First Amendment right to advocate for marijuana legalization while he is on probation. As the Associated Press reported:
A longtime South Dakota supporter of legalized marijuana has been sentenced to serve 45 days in jail for possessing the illegal drug. Authorities say Bob Newland of Hermosa was found with four bags of marijuana, a scale and $385 in cash when he was stopped for speeding in March. He pleaded guilty in May to a possession charge under a plea agreement in which prosecutors agreed to drop a more serious charge of possession with intent to distribute. Newland will be on probation for the rest of the year following his jail term. During his probation, he is barred from publicly advocating the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Newland, understandably, is not inclined to challenge the probation condition. There's something about staring at the walls of a jail cell that does that to a guy. But that doesn't mean others shouldn't raise a stink about this arguably unconstititional sentence. I'll be looking into this and will have a Chronicle story about it on Friday.
Rapid City, SD
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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the punishment doesnt fit his crime

Only 45 days !! thats unconstititional!! they shoulda gave him like 25 to life that was amost 4 ounces of marijuana!! thats discusting.and only a year on probation!! he needs a minuim of life on probation!.also he shouldnt be allowed to advocate for medical marijuana at all NO ONE SHOULD! that should be a criminal offense in fact a first degree felony i would have to say make it where they get captial punishment. that fits the crime well.well I know law enforcement feels the same way becouse we just want this country to be safe for all them little All American Joes out there supporting the RED WHITE & BLUE for the greatest most free land i know. cause this is what our founding fathers woulda wanted .

god bless america!! and god bless me!! Joey E. Wilmark
thank you for the blessings of George W. Bush you will be missed:(

All American Joe has to be a troll

Nobody could fit that much cognitive dissonance in their head and still type. He also laid out all the flamebait he could muster. Ignore him.

What! Are you a Budweiser

What! Are you a Budweiser Distributer?LOL! I love people like you that talk such jibberish. I get it, you're stoned. Dude, where's my bud, either one will do. WOW Man.

You are a mad man.

Capital punishment? You sir, are the reason I'm scarred for my children. I don't think drug use is right, but really sir capital punishment for a few ounces of marijuana? That type of thing happens in Iran, Iraq, and AFGHANISTAN..maybe you should move there where they are more inclined on killing people for such petty nonsense. You need help.

borden's picture

believe it or not...

Actually the Taliban were relatively lenient when it came to drug punishments, believe it or not, compared with the United States:

Now that's embarrassing for the US, or should be...

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

All American Joe?

The fact that you can't type/spell might say something about your education level as an American. I think what you preach is complete ignorance, and you obviously know nothing more than what your television tells you. Our founding forefathers grew marijuana, and probably even used it... Do your research before you start preaching about nazi's like Bush. Did you know that his grandfather supplied the fuel for nazi airplanes? The same airplanes that bombed Britian?

You say that no one should be able to talk about medical marijuana, how about we take away your right to free speech and see how it makes you feel... How would you like it if you weren't allowed to talk about "god" or how much you love nazi's?

Legalizing marijuana has many benifits, and the only reason we can't get it done is because of ignorant, uneducated people like you, sir.

You can take your patriotism and I'll take my marijuana. We don't have to fight, and you can keep ignoring the rest of the world as you so evidentally already do.

legalize the green, it

legalize the green, it doesnt hurt anybody.. so why do other people care? you cant overdose on it, unlike other prescription drugs ... people have a horse shoe up there ass and are up tight conservatives.. be free, be you, stay outa jail, and keep the inhale

Not American At All Joe

All American Joe, or should I say the one who dosent believe in freedom but at the same time praises what is supposed to be a free country. You are the guy that wouldn't even be approved for jury duty, just listen to you, your a complete extremist. I guess you should be on probation for the rest of your life since you probably had a beer at some point in your life, and thats even worse. So much for humanity huh Joe? Sad to say the least

ACLU to the rescue?

Unbelievable. Has the ACLU weighed in on this issue yet?

That's ridiculous. I hope

That's ridiculous. I hope the ACLU gets involved with this case. It's bad enough that they are taking people's freedom for this nonsense, they shouldn't take their right to free speech too.

thank you wrk4it

thank you for catching on to my sarcastic humor.seriouslly i was trying to put in hints it was a joke. like the ovious how the full name is. Joey E. Wilmark , look at the captials, it's in no way to be racist it just to point out the thing was a joke to thoughs who didnt catch it. but in my opionion sorry for my lack of grammur. umm i've been put on probation twice in my life and theres really nothing the ACLU can do becouse state probations take away several of your rights to make u more vounarble to volating probation so they have an easyer chance that you'll volaite ur probation terms and they can hual u off to jail then florida they take away ur right to bare arms um ur right to search and seasure ur freedom of speech is then limited cause ur not allowed at protest and ur not allowed to speak bad of the law enforcement and they give u curfew and also ur not allowed in bars or drink more than one beer even if the probations not for drugs or acohol. and seriouslly he had less than 4 ounces man thats fucked up in my home state of ohio you can possess up to 100 grams and thats only a $100.00 ticket. but it's different if your driving cause then they supend ur liesense for a year or two. but florida sucks on marijuana law the federal law is much more softer on possession than florida florida anything over 18 grams is a felony.

but as i sign off thank you wrk4it for getting my joke

come on vacation, leave on

come on vacation, leave on probation... i was born and raised in miami and lived in florida all my life. ive been very lucky when it comes to dealing with law enforcement, wether be from the amount of respect i am able to feign when they pull me over... o rmaybe it is just dumb luck. ive never been asked to take a breathalizer(though on several occaisons i have no idea why) and only had my vehicle searched once, and thnakfully that was one time i wasnt carrying anything "illegal". however, i have seen too many people get railroaded by this system and once you are in, they will try everything in their power to keep you in. even make up new laws to give themselves one more reason to invade your personal space and pull you over, i.e. the new seatbelt law. seems to me a state that has an obviously sub-par educational system and not financially sound enough to pay for things like proper(and i do mean proper!) road mantainence, coupled with severely over-crowded prisons and thousands of residents who, for several dozen reasons, cant afford the most basic of health care standards, can find better things to do with their "strained budget" than to harass, incarcerate and ruin the lives of otherwise peaceful,well respected, law-abiding citizens who just want to live their lives as they see fit. is that reallt too much to ask for? is that such a dangerous and grievous request that it should be met with such unreasonable force and disdain? seriously?

Do American law courts fear words?

The reefer madness runs so deep that it has created a new taboo that busts drug speech.  Bong hits for Jesus?   And now an unusual if not cruel gag order to prohibit speech that favors a just cause.  Good thing Gandhi and Martin Luther King were never busted for pot.


A Judge caught in the middle

Under Federal law he could of been sentenced to a minimum mandatory 10 yrs or more. If this had happen in Ca. and he had a Dr.s recommendation the Cops would of had to return his weed to him, his money and sent him on his way. Different States have widely varying drug sentences both by law and by how lucky one gets on the Judge that hears their case. Only when the Feds drop their ridiculous lies about the evils of marijuana will the State become anything close to uniform in their times given.
US law is so screwed up that the Drug Czar is actually mandated by law to lie about Marijuana and to work to block any attempts to legalize it. It's the Law.

insipid dope laws

Amen Brutha! Mr. Wrkn4It, PLEASE keep on challenging folk. I don't wanna be alone.

Was reminded of "1984" yesterday. Some dude was saying it was "15yrs 2 late." I say B.S.! The insipid "war on drugs" was in full force. Parents let Imperial Fed Gov take over THEIR responsibilities and so began the intrusion.

Now we are up 2:
"No Knock," which allows cops 2 come in any time. Consequence? Blue Haired Old Ladies get murdered. etc...
25yrs. Federal bids (more time than baby rapers). Consequence? Debacle of prisons, Young Folk robbed of Life, etc.
Insipid "homeland security," "seat belt checks," virtually any "new law" passed w/in last 20yrs designed to control YOU.
Biggest tax scam in history. FairTax HR25/S296 would effectively TAX this black market. (But control taken fr. Imp.Fed.)

All this and MORE. And all you people can say is this Dude is sum kinda scumbag? Huh!? For smoking something GOD MADE!!!

There are so many uses 4 this wonderful plant. So many people die from starvation fighting a disease. Ever see somebody die from Kemo? Ever watch somebody waste away from cancer because they could not eat?

Didn't think so. Now shut the hell up! You ignorant wretch! After my crippling accident (thru no fault of my own), EVERY SINGLE 1 of the meds, 7 total, ended up busting a liver or killing people. EVERY 1 had a CLASS ACTION SUIT!!! My ONLY Saving Grace, was that they didn't work & I didn't take them. Only 1 that I took long term gave me a heart attack.

NO ONE has ever O.D.'d from MJ. No one EVER WILL.

If it weren't for MJ I would not have been able 2 eat. Would forget to eat anything until 20:00 or at all.

Even Jesus said take things in moderation. His 1st Miracle was at a party. Why would God send us something that has so many uses? So we could use it, Dumb*ss! It's up 2 YOU, not the ImperialFedGov, 2 be moderate & RESPONSIBLE!

p.s. Don't even get me started on the "justice system" or ponzi scheme of S.Securtiy. Worked 15yrs @ Fed.

insipid dope laws rant

Sorry Fellas. I got my magnifying glass & SEE my mistake. I'm glad we were all on the same page. Please forgive. Many Blessings on you Fellas for calling a spade a spade.


will most likely NOT get involved in this case. They're too busy removing the Ten Commandments from courthouses to be concerned about blatant Constitutional violations.

Your ignorance of the ACLU

Your ignorance of the ACLU is appalling, but unfortunately, not shocking. I recommend doing research rather than just regurgitating what others have told you.

Sad, but true.

I live in S.Dak and Marijuana is illegal in this state. Do I agree with that law, no I smoke bud all the time. It is the law in which the majority wants. Mr. Newland knew this and choose to break it. Not to mention he was stupid 4 lids and a scale. You only carry that if you intend to distribute it. Those charges were dropped, yes when you commit a crime you lose your rights.

The judge was doing his job, and don't compare Nazi judges, just doing there job. There is a huge difference, they committed crimes against humanity.

So use your brain, stop bashing Bush, stop acting like a burn out. Stop dissing the system, use it. Write your congress person, then when the ballet for reform is out, go and vote. S. Dak has had Medical reform on the ballot, no one showed up. Now they complain.

As for All American Joe, don't lower to his level. If it was up to him everyone would be in jail.

clear violation of the spirit of the 1st amendment

Even if he is under court supervision, how can arguing for a change in government policy be a crime? That's not a road we should be going down.
The good news is that South Dakota will have a chance to legalize medicinal marijuana by referendum this November. Thank goodness for referendums.

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