When Truth Is At Odds With The Law

[Note: Bob Newland will be our guest on NORML SHOW LIVE this Thursday 8/19 – live.norml.org at 4pm ET / 1pm PT.]

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. And he isn’t wasting any time. His op/ed below, published last week in The Rapid City Journal, provides details on Bob’s court-ordered exile, and offers insight as to why he continues to articulately and passionately advocate for cannabis liberation. Bob’s comparison to Galileo, the renowned astronomer who spent decades under house arrest for daring to acknowledge publicly that the Earth revolved around the sun, is disturbingly appropriate.

Marijuana prohibition aids few
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.

My statistics are understated, purposefully, because most people apparently can’t face how destructive cannabis prohibition has been. It’s been estimated that each arrest has cost the taxpayers of its jurisdiction a minimum of $500. If that were the extent of the damage, prohibition would be a bargain.

It has become common practice for law enforcement to seize peoples’ cash, possessions and children, often based on only an accusation of cannabis use. Those convicted bear an undeserved social and income-reducing stigma for the rest of their lives. No one in government or the financial industry is immune to the lure of the inconceivable amount of cash generated by the prohibited substance trade in general, of which cannabis is the most prevalent. Children find it easier to obtain “prohibited” substances than they do tobacco and alcohol, because the nature of prohibition is to subsidize an unregulated and untaxed market.

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.

… In a twisted and particularly cruel way of parsing the matter, which above all else is the hallmark of prohibition logic, it makes sense for government to stifle the truth.

You can read Bob’s entire commentary here.

And if you reside in South Dakota, you can join with Bob and The South Dakota Coalition for Compassion by voting ‘yes’ this November on Prop. 13 — The South Dakota Safe Access Act.

Bob has done — and continues to do — his part for marijuana law reform. Have you done yours?

31 thoughts

  1. Legalization is the only way. This is why I feel strongly that all the NORML friends and fans should unite behind the CA Prop. 19. The people who think that that is “just a California Movement” are wrong: This is a National, if not International Movement to Legalize Cannabis, and especially Medicinal Cannabis, and we only can exist as its Parts by recognizing and supporting the Unity of the Whole!

  2. Thank you Bob!!! How did you keep it inside for a year. I wonder if your case is going further. I wonder if the british told our founding fathers to be silent and in response they created the 1st amendment. the right to petition the govt!

  3. I have often wondered if the world court will attempt to have a war crimes trial for the people that are continuing to expose people to cancers that could possibly have been blocked by cannabis use.
    They even continue prohibition while they are searching for the chemical compounds that do the blocking so denial of knowledge that cannabis blocks and treats some cancers is impossible.

  4. I have been told by Alex White Plume that part of his plea bargain after being prosecuted for legally growing industrial hemp on his sovereign land that he is not allowed to speak publicly about industrial hemp,a product that has absolutely nothing to do with drugs.

  5. Legalization is the only way.I totally agree.This is a great chance to start putting an end to all the crimes committed against a large portion of the Worlds Peace loving population.Voting Yes on Prop.19,is a cry out for justice and truth,and FREEDOM.

  6. While Medical Marijuana is a great way to “get your foot in the door”, we need to push for legalization. And the best way to do that is to counter the Prohibition Propaganda!

  7. speaking out in georgia will get you killed by the crimnals who profit the most from marijuana prohabition [the police].dont think so give it a try

  8. WE are way behind in the legalization of cannabis and other natural remedies that have been proven effective for many illnesses. Legalize the cannabis and tax it. Soon we would have no national debt and I for one might be pain free from this chronic pain disorder I’ve suffered with for 10 years.

  9. “there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”


  10. cannabis prohibition is a war of tyrany, a war waged for the sake of greed, in the name of ignorance, and bathed in the blood of the innocent the only way to end the bloodshed is to legalize cannabis, yet so many continue to ignore history and the lessons it has taught us therefore i say LEGALIZE IT!!!!
    and end the tyrany, end the bloodshed, and most of all LEGALIZE FREEDOM AND CELEBRATE ONE OF GODS GREATEST GIFTS!!!!!!

  11. How can a judge stop someone from voicing their opinion about marijuana prohibition. I don’t live in California but I pray that prop 19 passes because it’s going to be a wake up call to all those around the country that are living in their own little social conservative bubble. They’re losing and we’re gaining ground day by day. Someday soon these scumbag cops and judges will have no ground to stand on. (not all cops and judges are scumbags but…) Vote yes Cali. Prop 19 isn’t just going to affect Californians it’s going to affect all of us across the country.

  12. Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor.
    Attributed to:
    God, Jeremiah

    I have provided lots of links within the above quote. Wicked men (and women) do not let God on the throne of their hearts, they sit in the seat of God; and they also demand to sit on the throne of your heart, forcing you to serve them!

    They set traps through hypocritical actions like leading and tricking people into doing things they consider wrong!

    They have filled up prisons past unconstitutional levels with jailbirds, and shackled millions more under probationary conditions.

    They steal belongings via guilty-until-proven-innocent (un)civil asset forfeiture laws.

    They rob the world to pay themselves gargantuan sums to spy on everyone, violating the very Founding Documents they swore to uphold, which by-the-way are areligious documents, wrapping themselves in the flag and acting like they are serving God. But who is it they are serving?

  13. Inspiring words from a victim of the war on drugs. Thanks for your service, Bob. I hope with all my heart this insanity goes away!!

    In late spring I was seeing a lot of people on the news coming out against prohibition. People like Glen Beck, Judge Napolitano, and O Reilly, were all doing stories on the subject, but nothing lately. Makes me wonder if someone is leaning on them to shut them up??? I was hoping by now there would be a huge wave of support, but alas, we seem to not be getting press in the MSM. Anyone else think that’s spooky???

  14. I cant stand liars and I dont understand how they got into our system of government. I strongly believe that anyone who is against the legalization of marijuana should be subject to capital punishment for perjury, and corruption due to the fact that all laws against it are based on lies that are known to the common public yet still upheld by these officials. When will the people stand up and take back what is rightfully theres!

  15. here’s a pack of lies hot off the ONDCP discussion board It was given as a response to my assertion that cannabis is not toxic to the human body:

    When I taught toxicology I told my students they could disagree with me but they better have citation which were creditable. There are 66 known cannabinoids in Marijuana, 12 different THC isomers. (Ross SA, Elsohly MA, 1995 Constituents of Cannabis sativa, XXVIII, a review of the natural constituents: 1980-1994. Zagazig Journal for Pharmaceutical Sciences 4:1-10).

    The principle of Toxicology is that everything is toxic, there is no harmless substances only harmless way of using substances. What make it a passion is rout of entry, dosage to weight ratio, duration of exposure, metabolic ability of the target organism. My course was a 4 hour course with a lab and there is no way to teach this to you in a brief. What determines at what schedule a substance is placed is based on risk to benefit ratio. There is a legal form of THC Marinol which has shown to be therapeutic and is available for prescription by a licensed medical doctor. A form that is sprayed into the mouth like some breath fresher is now available in Europe and is in the process of evaluation for use in the US. As a toxicologist the risk to benefit ratio is against smoked form of treatment with marijuana. THC is not a schedule 1 drug. Marijuana as unpurified plant extracts including leaves and flower apical meristematic tissue is because of its unpredictable content. Example Delta nine Tetrahydorcannabinol has 9 different isomers as well as delta eight Tetrahdrocannabionl which has two different isomers. How many different chemical combinations are possible? Then throw in different percentages of each isomer how many more? Yet only one combination may be therapeutic for a particular condition.

    I can go into great detail but it would take three hundred or more pages to explain it all. Marijuana is not a schedule one, because Law Enforcement or the Government is trying to conceal or prevent use. It is as a recent US Court of Appeals has up held; the science does not support moving it to a scheduled II. Does FDA get wrong, yes sometimes, they try to error on the side of caution, but some pharmaceutical have been prescribed based on toxicological data and when a larger sample size (more people using it) some product have been canceled because the risk to benefit ratio went the other way. The risk was greater than the benefit. You talked about THC being absorbed by fat like a nutrient. Vitamin C and the B complex are nutrients correct? They are water soluble and are excreted via the urine, as you said poisons are. Vitamin A, D, E, and K are fat soluble and are stored in fat. DDT is adsorbed in fat cells as well, and in the 1940-1960 we did not think it was toxic either to humans either. In the 1972 we outlawed it. DDT was found in breast milk with adverse consequences for the developing child. THC has also been found in breast milk. This has shown up in the baby urine, which is an indication of a large amount in the system. Impaired motor development at one years of age has been attributed to marijuana cannabinoids in breast milk. (Abel EL. 1999. Alternative medicine- The risks of untested and unregulated remedies, New England Journal of Medicine.)


    and here’s my rebuttal that they (so far) will not publish. It amazes me that an office of our Government can just, flat out lie, and shape policy by those lies, and then censor the Truth to continue in the lie.
    Like the Scripture says, “Cretans are liars” (Titus 1:14)

    ‘I know THC isn’t toxic because I’m not dead:)
    A principle we derive from the Scriptures is “to the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, there isn’t anything pure- even their minds and conscience is defiled” (Titus 1:15). This theology flatly rejects your opinion that “everything is toxic”. The Early Church did much battle with the “gnostics”, who held a similar world view, that all matter is evil. The Scriptures conclude time and time again that all of creation is good.

    I would like to set forward a more traditional understanding of “toxicity”. It’s called a “LD-50”. That is the “lethal dose necessary for half of a test population.” It is a standard measurement in the field of toxicology. Basically, if you have a hundred lab mice, you start dosing them out until half of them are dead. Whatever dose was necessary to kill half of them is the LD-50 of the substance. In Example, Alcohol has an LD-50 of 50% blood-alcohol content, nicotine has an ld-50 of one drop, dioxin bleach has an ld-50 of 1/500th of a drop. -we have a hard time killing the mice with THC, and as a result, it falls into the “non-toxic” category. (this info is provided in any college level environmental science textbook)

    Here is a link to the DEA webpage, which has a list of schedule 1 narcotics.


    You will see that both THC and Marijuana are listed as Schedule 1. (There is an exemption for industrial hemp products,- the seeds, fibers, and oil.) Basically the Schedule 1 classification is “a substance that is deadly (although I’ve heard it downgraded to “dangerous”) with no medical value.” Despite the fact that citizens from all over this country know better, the FDA refuses to reschedule. Their failure to accurately classify cannabis has led a number of states to seek special legislation regarding cannabis. As doctors are forbidden to prescribe cannabis for ailments, the states carve out permissions for “recommendations”, and they bypass the entire Food and Drug Administration policies by doing it, so that the inaccurate info enforced by them does not infringe upon the citizens. I think it’s up to 14 states now that have made exemptions to get around this FDA schedule 1 “lie”.

    here’s a brief on the medical uses of cannabis (stuff the FDA says isn’t true)


    One can suggest that pharmaceutical companies can cook up a THC in their labs that is superior to the natural thing. Marinol is the current xenobiotic alternative. It is a water base substance, it has little effect on nerve pain, and it is lethal in high doses. Sativex, the spray, is derived from natural THC, and is one of the examples of what researchers can come up with when we’re allowed to work with the natural substance. -In California, although drug dealers exploited loopholes and devastated the advances of cannabis as a medicine, there is still University level research being conducted , and it’s very promising. Here’s a link to more info


    One can also suggest that “no smoke is medicine”. Smokes and vapors have been used as a medicine for thousands of years. Inhaling medicine is far more profitable in certain cases, because it bypasses the digestive system. Take nausea for instance. Is it better to eat a pill and try to hold it down, or is it better to inhale? Although the water soluble base of Marinol has made it toxic to the human body, water solubility does not make a substance inherently poisonous. Neither does fat solubility. We determine what is toxic and what is not by the LD-50.

    And if you want to consider a risk-benefit analysis, I would point out that this plant can potentially power our cars, build our houses, feed and clothe the poor, alleviate the suffering of cancer victims, arrest the development of glaucoma and stop a full blown asthma attack. The efforts to enforce prohibition has incriminated a number of otherwise law abiding citizens, currently costs 10 billion annually out of the drug war budget alone, and has failed to keep the substance out of the hands of high school kids, which is what the original intent of the tax act was, back in 1937, before the FDA was even around.

    The War on Cannabis has become a poverty, suffering, destruction and perdition in the lives of millions. From workplace discrimination, to legal assault, to shredding of trust and confidence in relationships, these perditions are a commonplace in America now. Every 38 seconds someone stumbles in cannabis prohibition; jail time, fines, loss of personal property, loss of ability to travel, loss of loved ones and relationships, loss of business’ loss of jobs, loss of health; the obstacles and stumblingblocks cast to prevent people from possessing cannabis also prevent consumers from living a normal, healthy, and productive life.

    God bless

    Jeff Lucas’

    NORML can probably do a better job of exposing the lies and deceptions that have kept us bound up in this unjust law than I can. They will not publish my rebuttal on the discussion board, ao that the liars and deceived can respond or be corrected.

  16. Bob,God Bless You! The Gov’t is so backwards,I’m ashamed! I,too have been on Hddictive medications with wonderful kickbacks to physicians,insurance companies & the like.I wonder w/each oxycontin,percocet,fentanyl patch,etc what the xxxx these are doing to my liver,kidneys,& life-span!Each symptom I have that’s being treated by highly addictive,dangerous narcotics could be handled easily,with medicinal marijuana.But noooo-the idiots that run this country,& the thousandsa cops on the street,are being paid for by whom?US,with the fines,”court costs”,etc with every person caught with marijuana & or paraphanelia!How sickening!

  17. This is definitely awesome! It’s a really helpful article and I hope you could also get to visit my site so we can permeate ideas when it comes to legalizing medical marijuanas. Please drop some comments and let us know what you think about our website.

    Here’s the link:

    Thanks ahead and have a wonderful day! 🙂

  18. JAH will bless you brother Bob, for keeping up the fight for the blessed plant ganja.>>>The tree of life<<< THANK YOU! one lov.

  19. 16-17 Christians Against Marijuana Prohibition.

    We who believe in God and the Holy Sacrament are with you. Ezekiel XXXIV: 29, 30, 31. Genesis I: 29, 30, 31.
    Those who don’t believe in God – We are with you too.

  20. History will show the name Bob Newland as one of the people that stood his ground and WON! Thanks to Bob and all of those that keep putting the truth out about prohibition. I will personally tell my children and Grandchildren the story of Bob Newland. Bob Newland is great credit to NORML and the people of South Dakota.Thanks Bob for the lesson in American justice (or unjustice).

  21. quickly- the theology behind why the philosophy that “everything is toxic” is unquestionably wrong:


    The Biblical account rules out “dualism”. This is the idea that both God and the material universe have eternally existed side by side. Thus, there are two ultimate forces in the universe, God and matter.

    The problem with dualism is that it indicates an eternal conflict between God and the evil aspects of the material universe. Will God ultimately triumph over evil in the universe? We cannot be sure, because both God and evil have apparently always existed side by side.
    This philosophy would deny both God’s ultimate lordship over creation and also that creation came about because of God’s will, that it is to be used solely for his purposes, and that it is to glorify him.
    This viewpoint would also deny that all of the universe was created inherently good (Gen.1:31) and would encourage people to view material reality as somewhat evil in itself, in contrast with a genuine biblical account of a creation that God made to be good an that he rules over for his purposes.

    One recent example of dualism in modern culture is the series of “Star Wars” movies, which postulate the existence of a universal “force” that has both a good and an evil side. There is no concept of one holy and transcendent God who rules over all and will certainly triumph over all.
    When non-Christians today begin to be aware of a spiritual aspect to the universe, they often become dualists, merely acknowledging that there are good and evil aspects to the supernatural or spiritual world. Most “New Age” religion is dualistic.

    Of course, Satan is delighted to have people think that there is an evil force in the universe that is perhaps equal to God himself.

    Wayne Grudem, Sytstematic Theology

  22. 29 Jeff Lucas

    Perhaps God and Satin are having it out as we speak. Perhaps this is the prophecy of 2012. Perhaps Satin is the prohibitionists and God is freedom. PERHAPS!!!

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