Thursday, May 17, 2018

Libertarians running circles around South Dakota Democrats on cannabis reform


The trip to Yankton for the 2014 South Dakota Democratic Party State Convention to take photos for Northern Plains News was a personal opportunity to learn directly from the delegates, legislators and candidates while lobbying them about what this blogger believes is the future of the party.

It was gratifying to be received as a credible voice at an event were everybody knew a blogger living in Santa Fe who cared enough about his home state to drive a couple thousand miles and shoot a few pictures. Jeff Barth and the Minnehaha County people took a straggler into their ranks and pressed the caucus on strict adherence to the rules with vigorous confidence.

There were some disappointments like no representation from Lawrence County and a watered-down therapeutic cannabis plank, for instance; but, the experience of knowing these people are dedicated Democrats who are sick and tired of being bullied by the state's dominant party while tirelessly fighting for a land they love was worth every driven mile.

2016's platform was better.
in Support of Marijuana Legalization

Whereas: South Dakota law prohibits the possession and usage of marijuana, and
Whereas: The existing South Dakota marijuana laws violate the commitment to meeting every individual's basic human rights to promote respect for diverse lifestyles and viewpoints and to live in a community without fear of discrimination, and
Whereas: The medical benefits of marijuana would help countless South Dakotans who suffer from Glaucoma, Parkinson’s Disease, seizure disorders, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, various psycho-physiological disorders, and many other conditions, and
Whereas: The existing marijuana laws inhibit economic growth and opportunity, and now therefore be it
Resolved: That the South Dakota Democratic Party supports regulation and taxation of marijuana in a manner similar to that of alcohol, and be it
Further Resolved: That the South Dakota Democratic Party urges state and federal governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all medical marijuana patients, and be it
Further Resolved: That the South Dakota Democratic Party supports the legalization of industrial hemp which can be grown and used to produce renewable food, oil, wax, resin, rope, cloth, paper, and fuel in support of a sustainable full-employment society. [SDDP]
Democrats in blue states already understand the added value of talking legal cannabis during their campaigns and some red state Democrats get it, too; but so far this election cycle South Dakota Democrats believe the state party is just too fragile for cannabis rights.

Libertarian Party candidates like George Hendrickson, Greg Baldwin, Gideon Oakes and Daryl Root will have major impacts on South Dakota politics in November.
Marijuana and cannabidiols can help control disabling muscle spasms of multiple sclerosis and is an effective treatment for children with Dravet syndrome. It provides relief from nerve-related pain from fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. In states where it has been legalized, opioid overdoses have been reduced by up to 25%. Research is being done for PTSD, encephalopathy, and Alzheimers. My opponents ignore this science because they don't want to "defy" Federal laws or because they falsely think 3/10 of 1% THC can get someone high. It's time to elect a leader, not a follower. It's time to elect someone who does what's right for the people, not the party. [Daryl Root for District 4 House]
Black market cannabis not tested or subject to regulation makes America and South Dakota less safe. Legalizing and regulating a product that so many people enjoy is reasonable public policy aligned with life/safety concerns.

Unless Democrats weave cannabis into their platform at their state convention and arch-conservatives run for offices outside the Greedy Old Party it's curtains for SDDP in November.

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