Apparently if you advocate for the legalization of marijuana in South Dakota you can be arrested and thrown in prison. This is at least true of one man,Bob Newland, who had a gag order placed on him barring him from exercising his freedom of speech concerning Marijuana prohibition for one year back in August of 2009 and as you might have guested it has finally been lifted,
“Twelve months ago, long time South Dakota NORML activist Bob Newland was legally barred by a state judge from engaging in any public advocacy for cannabis law reform while on probation for a marijuana possession offense. Newland’s First Amendment stripping sentence was all the more egregious given Bob’s high profile role in this November’s statewide ballot initiative campaign (‘Yes on 13′) to legalize the medical use of marijuana for qualified patients.
After months of coerced silence, Bob has finally been unshackled and may once again enjoy his Constitutional right to advocate for rational and compassionate marijuana policies.”
Bob has wasted little time getting right back on track where he left off in SD starting with an Op-ed in The Rapid City Journal. Here is an excerpt you might find interesting,
via The Rapid City Journal
“My tongue was bound. My typing fingers were paralyzed. On July 6, 2009, these acts were performed by a circuit court judge because I am a visible and ardent advocate of informed personal discretion regarding one’s choice of intoxicant or medical palliative.
…Contrary to the beliefs of many, there is plenty of precedent for court-ordered suppression of the truth. Often recalled is the 40-year house arrest imposed on Galileo for pointing out that the Earth revolved around the sun. Millions were burned to death for less.
I’m 62 years old. For 44 years I have observed the incalculably stupid custom of arresting people for possession of a demonstrably beneficial, easily cultivated herb. During the past 20 years alone, over 16 million people have been arrested on marijuana charges in this country, over 12 million of them for simple possession only.
As for every politician who endorses prohibition, every judge who sentences someone for possession, every cop who arrests someone for possession; they all are awash in the blood of the 23,000 Mexicans who have been killed in the civil war over drug turf in Mexico during the past three years, and in the less visible detritus of the lives they have shattered senselessly.”
Hopefully this kind of blatant disregard for ones rights won’t happen again in South Dakota but until we know for sure I think its safe to assume that Marijuana advocacy is a gray area in their courts and I weep for SD citizens.
While I may weep for them and their rights I am also encouraged to see Bob immediately standing back up and fighting the good fight against the powers of darkness and while I am still weeping some of those tears are tears of joy.
God Bless you Bob!