Wednesday, May 8, 2019

South Dakota's non-tribal cannabis initiatives are DOA

John Dale of Spearditch needs at least 16,961 valid signatures of registered voters to get his cannabis idea on South Dakota's 2020 ballot. Emery's Melissa Mentele has an even more detailed proposal for therapeutic cannabis even though past ballot measures have all gone down in flames.
An initiated measure that would let people age 21 and older possess, grow, sell and distribute marijuana in South Dakota has taken the first steps toward the 2020 election ballot. State Legislative Research Council Director, Jason Hancock estimated its fiscal impact as a net savings of $3.1 million annually for state and local governments, after prison and jail costs were subtracted, and regulatory and Medicaid costs were added. Mentele also has offered a full legalization measure. "The constitution does not provide for any appropriation-special or general-by initiated measure. To avoid this constitutional question, we recommend removing section 34 of the measure," Hancock wrote in his April 26 response. [Bob Mercer, KELO teevee]
Joyce Scott and others worked their tails off gathering more than 50,000 signatures persuading voters to approve anti-corruption Initiated Measure 22. But Republican lawmakers quickly torched the rules and passed changes that make it even harder for residents to bypass the statehouse through the initiative and referendum process. "Who would have ever thought that something that the voters passed, that the Legislature would just do away with it totally," Scott wondered. Even the Republican-leaning Rapid City Journal called the Legislature’s acts "brazen."

Masochism truly is a South Dakota value. Eight month winters, rampant racism, living in a chemical toilet and a Nazi legislature just don't seem to be enough deterrents for some pathologically impaired crusaders. Fact is: non-tribal South Dakotans are simply too fragile for cannabis reform especially in a state ruled by Nazis.

But, the State of South Dakota has little power over the tribal nations trapped within the borders of the red moocher state. A 1986 amendment to federal law allows tribes to acquire off-reservation land to serve the needs of its peoples. President Tony Reider and officials of the Flandreau Santee Sioux Nation advanced their cannabis initiative after an Iowa casino on the border cut into the tribe's gaming business but reportedly destroyed their crop after threats from federal party-poopers.

The Northern Cheyenne Tribe of Montana and the Arapahoe Tribe of Oklahoma teamed up and bought 1,020 acres of ranchland north and east of Mato Paha (Bear Butte) adding significantly to their holdings West River. Last year the Oglala Oyate bought off-reservation property on I-90 just outside Badlands National Park. The Fort Peck Tribes in occupied Montana have legalized therapeutic cannabis and the Northern Cheyenne have been mulling the concept. As co-owners of Pe'Sla the Minnesota-based Shakopee Mdewakanton Nation could bring that state's medical cannabis and reproductive rights freedoms to the Black Hills. Lower Brule has struggled with synthetic cannabinoids but that community has off-reservation property in Fort Pierre to test their sovereignty.

It's time to test South Dakota's jurisdiction over nations where cannabis is legal and for tribal medical professionals to establish clinics that perform abortions on non-contiguous off-reservation parcels as islands of health care that supersede state law.

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