In 2012, there were 2,297 arrests for marijuana possession in South Dakota, and 127 arrests for marijuana sales. Possession of just a small amount of marijuana in the state carries a potential penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine! Even more alarmingly, a recent study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that South Dakota was among the top 10 states with the largest racial disparities in marijuana possession arrest rates. Despite people of all races using marijuana at nearly identical rates, blacks in South Dakota are nearly 4.8 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession. [Marijuana Policy Project]In Rapid City during his run for US House Jeff Barth stuck his hand out after greeting the couple before me and after introducing myself he said, "you're a little bigger than I am." My 6'2" 173 pound frame and his 6'1" likely-more-than-that laughed simultaneously. I didn't hesitate: "where you at on the so-called War on Drugs?" It fell right out of my mouth. "It's crazy," he replied. He described a future where, as long as law enforcement can easily test drivers stopped for some other infraction, cannabis law should look just like alcohol law.
With American Indian tribes trapped in South Dakota poised to begin cultivation and distribution outpacing the state itself, Republican Governor Matt Mead of Wyoming is taking a proactive approach to cannabis.
Excitement is building as the Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation expands on its cannabis plan.
Legal cannabis just hit the streets in Oregon.
A change in Nebraska law that allows petition organizers to pay circulators by the signature, instead of by the hour has fired up cannabis rights advocates.
At the South Dakota Democratic Convention in Yankton Jeff Barth and the Minnehaha County people took this straggler into their ranks while pressing the caucus on strict adherence to the rules with vigorous confidence. At that time I lobbied Barth to bring higher wages to Sioux Falls. Now he is taking that concept to community organizers.