South Dakota Bill Seeks Medical Defense For Marijuana Charge

Two South Dakota lawmakers with roots in law enforcement said Thursday that people charged with possessing small amounts of marijuana should be able to defend themselves in court by arguing they need if for medical reasons.

Rep. Dan Kaiser, R-Aberdeen, a police officer, and Sen. Craig Tieszen, R-Rapid City, a retired police chief, told a South Dakota House committee that their bill would not legalize marijuana or set up a system where people could get it for medical purposes. But they said people suffering or dying from cancer or debilitating diseases should be able to use medical necessity as a defense if they are arrested for possessing two ounces or less of marijuana.

“We’re just giving the person dying of a crippling disease the opportunity, if the judge allows them, to offer a defense,” Kaiser said.

However, state and local law enforcement officials urged the committee to reject the bill, saying it would open the door to eventual legalization of marijuana in the state.

The Health and Human Services Committee heard opening testimony on the bill Thursday, but delayed a vote on it until at least Tuesday.

– Read the entire article at CBS Minnesota.