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Legislators Receive Letters About Cannabis

Every week for 17 weeks, a South Dakota group is sending over 200 letters to promote its cause. SoDak Norml starting sending letters to current and prospective legislators in September and will continue until the first week of the legislative session.  The letters ask lawmakers to stop jailing cannabis users. SDPB’s Cassie Bartlett reports. Bob Newland is the president of SoDak Norml. He says after 25 years of lobbying for the legislature to reduce marijuana users’ punishments, he doesn’t have high expectations for his letters to make speedy changes. But Newland says it’s important to continue the conversation.
 
“Seventeen states have some law on their books that at least recognizes the medical efficacy of cannabis. Washington, Colorado and Montana all have initiatives on their ballots that will legalize to some extent personal possession with or without a medical card. Fifty-five percent of the American public now regularly polls in favor of the legalization of cannabis. These are all things the legislature can’t ignore,” Newland says.
 
Newland says he believes the prohibition of cannabis is a failure, and arresting and jailing users only wastes resources. For South Dakota Public Broadcasting, I’m Cassie Bartlett.