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Free Speech Victim Of Mariuana Prohibition In South Dakota

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director July 29, 2009

    Here is an update from South Dakota where the judge who placed a one year gag order on South Dakota NORML’s Bob Newland not to publicly advocate for cannabis law reform whilst on probation for a minor cannabis offense has had to defend his sentencing and constitutionally-questionable limitations on Mr. Newland’s First Amendment rights to free speech; the right to peaceably assemble; petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    To place this into sharper political context, in their first attempt two years ago, South Dakotan voters narrowly defeated a pro-medical cannabis initiative, 51%-49%.

    Therefore, placing First Amendment restrictions on the state’s most vocal and notable cannabis law reform advocate for a minor cannabis offense sets a wretched legal precedent for personal freedom and political organizing in South Dakota.

    To make matters worse, now an anti-drug state senator is gratuitously misleading the public by claiming that medical cannabis advocates in South Dakota are disingenuous:

    “Judge Delaney was absolutely correct. To characterize Newland as an advocate for the legalization of marijuana for MEDICAL purposes is untrue. He is only interested in making marijuana available for his friends and others for recreational purposes, and perhaps financial gain.”

    The voters of South Dakota need to run another pro-cannabis law reform initiative and pass it ASAP, making politicos like Adelstein and Judge Delaney eat crow—like hundreds of other politicos since the early 1990s who’ve opposed cannabis law reform, only to see voter-driven initiatives wash over them, and their opposition to these important–and popular–public law reforms.

    ——————————–

    28 July 2009

    Hello everyone,

    I write today to tell a tale of an execrable and gratuitous lie told by SD State Senator Stanford Adelstein.

    First, on Monday, July 27, the following story appeared in the Rapid City Journal

    Judge defends marijuana sentence
    Jack Delaney imposed a gag order on political activist Bob Newland

    By Kevin Woster, Journal staff | Monday, July 27, 2009

    The well-known public advocate for the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes had previously pleaded guilty to felony possession of the drug. And Delaney wanted to make the sentence sting without imposing an unduly harsh prison term on a 60-year-old man with a relatively clean criminal record.

    So in essence, he told him to shut up for a year about one thing: medical marijuana, and an ongoing campaign to bring the issue to another public vote in 2010.

    Delaney sentenced Newland to one year in Pennington County Jail but suspended all but 45 days under a set of stipulations that included weekly drug tests, random searches and a one-year ban on public advocacy for medical marijuana.

    Delaney rejects assertions by some that he was imposing his personal beliefs on medical marijuana through the sentence.

    “I have no concern whatsoever about whether medical marijuana is legalized,” Delaney said during an interview with the Journal in his office. “The important thing was to have a sentence crafted to impose a penalty on Mr. Newland that was significant to him.”

    The advocacy ban was an infringement on Newland’s First Amendment rights. Delaney doesn’t deny that. But neither does he consider it more onerous or any less appropriate than many other infringements imposed as part of felony sentences.

    The random searches Newland faces in the next year would be violations of his constitutional rights, but for the felony plea. Felons can face otherwise unconstitutional firearms restrictions and the right to associate with certain people or go to certain establishments, Delaney said.

    “We restrict speech as well in a lot of protection orders, or in divorces, where in some cases the parties’ freedom to speak to one another may be limited,” he said.

    And given the fact that the maximum penalty for Class 6 felony marijuana possession was two years in prison and a $4,000 fine, Newland’s sentence could be considered light by others who face similar charges, Delaney said. He was particularly concerned about younger minority defendants who might get a longer jail term for the same crime.

    “I’m sitting there faced with a gentleman who is older, well known, who is thought by many to be considerably more well off than he is, and he is seeking a sentence that is going to be considerably more lenient that what they (minority defendants) might receive,” Delaney said. “So my thought was that I have to take something from him that is as valuable or maybe even more valuable than his freedom.”

    Delaney settled on what he calls the “partial infringement of speech,” as well as limits on his freedom of association in support of medical marijuana. Newland may still meet in private with medical marijuana advocates to plan the medical-marijuana campaign. But he cannot appear publicly in or speak on or for the campaign.

    “I’m taking away a legal right of the person to associate,” Delaney said. “I’m taking away his liberties. But not nearly as much as if he were in jail.”

    Typical sentences for the same felony possession charge range from 45 days to 120 days in jail, Delaney said. But many of those who receive such sentences have more criminal marks on their record, he said.

    Delaney has received about 40 e-mails commenting on the verdict, with many critical of the ban on speech and public involvement in the medical marijuana campaign. Many of the e-mails came from people active in the medical marijuana movement, he said, and some engaged in “name calling.”

    Others, however, were more understanding when Delaney explained his rationale.

    “All felonies are serious crimes, and they have a wide range of impacts on anybody who’s a felon,” he said. “This is unusual. And if it hadn’t been Bob Newland, it wouldn’t have had the same impact.”

    Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or kevin.woster@rapidcityjournal.com
    *************

    In the online “Comments” on this story, Sen. Adelstein said this (reprinted as written, bad grammar and spelling intact):

    Judge Delaney was absolutely correct. To characterize Newland as an advocate for the legalization of marijuana for MEDICAL purposes is untrue. He is only interested in making marijuana available for his friends and others for recreational purposes, and perhaps financial gain.

    I met with him at the Capitol in Room 411, (or maybe 412) during the session to offer, to assist for MRDICAL purposes in a Bill, as Chair of Health and Human Services. I said that I would only do so if there were 3 (three) simple changes in the legislation he was proposing.

    1. There would be a required prescription from and MD legally authorized to issue drug prescription

    2.The prescription could only be given if either there was no FDA drug that would accomplish the same as the marijuana or that drug cost three more times the cost of the pot.

    3. The marijuana could only come from one or two sites approved and inspected by the SD Dept of Health

    He and his friends in the room flatly rejected all three saying that anyone could grow the stuff for anyone else at any time that it was needed

    I walked out of the room, knowing that they had no true interest in the help for people with pain and/or suffering. I of course opposed their bill vigorously and it did not even get to the House floor.

    Newland is and should be treated as a common felon. The Judge was correct from stopping his phone posturing, I only wish that it was for more than a single year.

    Stan Adelstein, State Senator District 32

    The details of the meeting as described by Adelstein are a lie. You can read the true story at the decorum Forum Blog, and you can comment there or at the Journal “Comments” site above.

    Best regards,

    Bob Newland
    24594 Chokecherry Ridge Rd
    Hermosa SD 57744
    605-255-4032
    newland@rapidcity.com

    60 Responses to “Free Speech Victim Of Mariuana Prohibition In South Dakota”

    1. JAS From NY says:

      Not a surprise at all the only leg these politicians have left are to tell lie’s to attempt to get people on their side. All i can say is that seeing a 60 yr old man as a felon for using cannabis should be the criminal act in this situation as well as all other simple possession charges that are in lieu of a not having a violent crime attached. We have a voice and the only way they will listen is when the ballots hit.

      God bless Americans, to hell with the government!

    2. adle1984 says:

      This is terrible terrible terrible. Why are people so ignorant? Why can’t people listen to facts and scientific based research and evidence? I’m just too sad to hear this.

      Also CNN just posted this.

      http://amfix.blogs.cnn.com/2009/07/29/commentary-americas-drug-problem-got-so-bad-because-we-didnt-raise-the-alarm/

      More sh*t coming from the Drug Czar’s mouth. The government has gotten so bad that it’s been bought out by Big Pharma. At least now that prescription drugs kill more than all illicit drugs combined, hopefully more people will realize how terrible Prohibition really is and end this corrupt policy once and for all.

    3. chris akes says:

      It is clear that politicians lie. Obama said that the war on drugs is an “utter failure” and we need to decriminalize marijuana. Nothing he said could be further from his political agenda. So in turn, we face people like this that use their position in power to make public policy, such as this judge, from the comforts of their offices. It is entirely clear that no one in congress, aside from a select few, are going to back any such measure to reschedule, or remove penalties for simple marijuana offenses. This was the same issue back in the 20’s with prohibition. Politicians were on the payroll for the bootleggers, and police were in the pockets of the politicians. Remember, Al Capone loved prohibition, the Kennedy’s enjoyed prohibition, and so did the rest of the gangsters of that time. Why? Because, it made them who they were, and they would be nothing without it.

      Bob’s unfortunate situation is just a grain of salt compared to the stockpile of salty situations that millions of American’s face everyday. Prohibition seeks to undermine the very principles of what our country was founded on. Abraham Lincoln opposed prohibition, he stated that it seeks to make crimes out of things that are not crimes. In contrast, however, our police agencies across the nation rely on the “War on Drugs” to supplement their income per the government’s failure to provide sufficient funds for them to continue forward. It is inherently clear that our government doesn’t care about the will of the people. Remember, this prohibition against Marijuana was made by a popular vote, it was an act of Congress, and at the time, it may have seemed to be a great idea. To date there are 2000 Marijuana related charges filed each day. The numbers grow exponentially when the states budget shrinks, and police are getting laid off. You would figure that police would start to place their efforts into crimes that matter, but in reality, it’s easier to jail someone for pot than arrest a murderer, they seem to shoot back if you try to catch them.

      So I say to all my fellow patriots, do we want this unconstitutional tyrannical atrocities to end? Then, listen up. Medical Marijuana is great, in fact it is probably the best thing since sliced bread, but it only opened people’s eyes to the issue, it wont close the door to prohibition. We need to do what Franklin D. Roosevelt did, and call for a Constitutional amendment to be added by a vote. We can do this by a national petition for a redress of grievances, and cause a real push for legalization. We can try to go state by state, and force the hand of the federal government, or we can take back our freedom ourselves. If this herb is as loved as we know it is, then we can make this happen. By contrast, this isn’t impossible, but it will take hard work. Unless of course, you all don’t think that we are entitle to it? Just kidding.

      In closing, I just want to thank Bob Newland for his tireless efforts to assist our cause. To me, this is a war of people, and he is a POW. May you spirits be strong as your will, and may god keep you in his arms. May god bless you, and all people in our great nation.

      Thank you all for all the hard work that you do. Keep up the good fight! Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead!

    4. Jeremy R. says:

      After reading this i just have to say what rights do us really have in America as Americans? Our rights should not be violated . I Say make a stand and do what we all can to end this stupid kid shit the govt. is doing . When a person invades another persons right then is not such a person breaking the law their self? This is BS and needs to be put to an end. We need to keep fighting and fight their ass even harder to ensure our rights and freedoms as upheld . We need to end all this stupid never should have been war on America / Americans and do all we can to ensure our children and their childrens children have a future in a free nation that is how America is suppose to be and not what prohibitionists and others like them want our nation to be . We are the American people and are entitled to our rights , freedom and liberties as such . Instead of being push over people that the govt. is allowing dictatorship happen . Well it is true. Instead of a free nation of the people by the people as it suppose to be it is more the dictators of this nation against the people. So I ask you this once again is it suppose to be “we the people” or “we the govt. and prohibitionists”? Lets take our rights , freedom and liberty back and restore to power “We the people”. Instead of letting this just happen we need to do all we can as free Americans and defend our freedom , liberties and constitutional rights be for we let our nation be turned into a dictatorship nation. Together we can and shall make the difference . Keep fighting fellow patriots.

    5. CKDK29 says:

      The Gov. needs to take a min n think y r we fighting ovr a fukin plant let’em hav it WTF There acting like a Bunch of Fukin Kids

    6. al menefee says:

      THERE YOU GO, THEY WILL LIE THROUGH THEIR TEETH TO KEEP THE MONEY, FROM KEEPING CANNABIS ILLEGAL. THOSE GREEDY EVIL MEN RUNNING THIS COUNTRY NEED TO BE SHOWN THE FEAR OF GOD THEN LET THEM OUT IN THE OPEN COUNTRY TO FEND FOR THEIR SELVES, TO SEE HOW WELL THEY LIVE, ON THE DIRT THEY LEAVE US TO LIVE ON. STOP TRYING TO CONTROL ME AND LET MY PEOPLE GO.. I SEE THAT YOU ARE AFRAID TO TRUST IN “GOD” SO YOU HAVE TO BE A (DICK) AND MESS UP AND WITH THOSE WHO WISH TO LIVE FREE AND NOT UNDER YOUR THUMB, FIGURE IT OUT BEFORE YOU TRY TO DICTATE MY LIFE. I WILL BE FREE, EVEN IF YOU THROW ME IN JAIL AND KILL ME. FREEDOM WILL PREVAIL, WHEN THE SHEEPLE BECOME THE WOLF, AND THEY THAT WISH TO RULE AS THEY ARE WILL BE GONE NOT SOON ENOUGH. YEA, I’M PISSED. GET OUT OF OUR LIVES AND LEAVE US ALONE AND WHEN WE NEED YOU, IF WE NEED YOU, WE WILL CALL FOR YOU TO HELP, WHEN YOU ARE NEEDED…… HOW LONG SHALL MY PEOPLE BE ENSLAVED,UNDER THIS TYRANNOUS GOVERNMENT THROUGH OUT THIS COUNTRY. WE WILL BE FREE, IF WE STAND TOGETHER, NO FORCE CAN OVER POWER THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE, WITH “GOD” ON THEIR SIDE. LIVE FREE, DIE WELL, MY BRETHREN, FOR A REAL CHANGE IS NEEDED TO SURVIVE THIS REGIME OF OPPRESSORS THAT WE SO MISGUIDEDLY CALL GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, THAT IS REALLY JUST A FEW BAD MEN LETTING GREED RULE THEIR LIVES AND RUINING OURS. PEACE!!! AL….

    7. Camille Christie-Barber says:

      There is a glaring problem with the proposal put forth by Stan Adelstein, State Senator District 32. That is with stipulation #2.

      I would much rather take an herbal remedy/medication than some pill manufactured by idiots who could give a rat’s behind about the safety, efficacy, and long term damage done by said PILL.

      Stan Adelstein is an uptight, ill-informed buffoon who obviously hasn’t done his research on the vast damage done to so many as a result of AHEM…. FDA approved pills/drugs. FDA sure hasn’t convinced me they or anyone else in the pharmaceutical end of things has anything but their wallets in mind, they certainly aren’t concerned with John or Jane Q Public’s health!!!

    8. There are no depths to which prohibitionists will not sink to impose their will on others. Prohibitionists do not care about the Constitution of the United States, they care about running other people’s lives.

    9. CKDK29 says:

      #7 thts y America is where it is Today

    10. truthandconsequences says:

      Soon it will be 1776 all over again.

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