Initiated Measures to Outlaw Transfer of Alcohol and Tobacco on Desks of AG, LRC

Yesterday we learned that Hot Springs activist Bob Newland and Sioux Falls antiquarian Andrew Ziegler have organized Consistent South Dakota, a ballot question committee formed with this mission:

We intend to bring So. Dak. law into closer adherence [to] common sense. The state should not profit from the legal transfer of two deadly drugs, while punishing the transfer of benign herbs [Consistent South Dakota, statement of organization, filed by Secretary of State Shantel Krebs 2015.04.22].

We now know what those two deadly drugs are: alcohol and tobacco. South Dakota NORML posts the texts of the two initiated measures Consistent South Dakota wants to place on the 2016 ballot:

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: An Act to ban the transfer of alcoholic beverages with more than one per-cent alcohol content in South Dakota.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. No person or business may transfer an alcoholic beverage, as defined in SDCL 35-1-1, containing more than one per-cent ethyl alcohol to another person or business in the State of South Dakota. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to transfer two ounces or less of an alcoholic beverage containing more than one per-cent ethyl alcohol. It is a Class 6 felony to transfer more than two ounces but less than one-half pound of an alcoholic beverage containing more than one per-cent ethyl alcohol. It is a Class 5 felony to transfer one-half pound but less than one pound of an alcoholic beverage containing more than one per-cent ethyl alcohol. It is a Class 4 felony to transfer one to ten pounds of an alcoholic beverage containing more than one per-cent ethyl alcohol. It is a Class 3 felony to transfer more than ten pounds of an alcoholic beverage containing more than one per-cent ethyl alcohol. In addition to any criminal penalty imposed upon conviction of a violation of this section, a civil penalty, not to exceed ten thousand dollars, may be imposed.

*   *   *

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: An Act to ban the transfer of tobacco or tobacco paraphernalia in South Dakota.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. No person or business may transfer tobacco, in the form of cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, or loose tobacco, or a tobacco pipe or tobacco rolling paper, from one person or business to another person or business in the State of South Dakota. It is a Class 1 misdemeanor to transfer two ounces or less of tobacco, tobacco pipes, or tobacco rolling papers. It is a Class 6 felony to transfer more than two ounces but less than one-half pound of tobacco, tobacco pipes, or tobacco rolling papers. It is a Class 5 felony to transfer one-half pound but less than one pound of tobacco, tobacco pipes, or tobacco rolling papers. It is a Class 4 felony to transfer one to ten pounds of tobacco, tobacco pipes, or tobacco rolling papers. It is a Class 3 felony to transfer more than ten pounds of tobacco, tobacco pipes, or tobacco rolling papers. In addition to any criminal penalty imposed upon conviction of a violation of this section, a civil penalty, not to exceed ten thousand dollars, may be imposed.

[South Dakota NORML, proposed ballot initiatives, downloaded 2015.04.24]

Essentially, we’re talking prohibition of alcohol and tobacco modeled after our marijuana possession l, with equivalent penalties by weight. These proposals aren’t quite as strict as our prohibition of marijuana: the initiatives would outlaw transfer, not possession, so one could still drive over to Pipestone, Ellendale, Beulah, or Whiteclay to buy beer and smokes and cross back into South Dakota to indulge. One simply could not sell those beers and smokes to fellow South Dakotans or hand them to one’s friends.

Newland tells me that both of these ballot measures are on the Attorney General’s desk for the legal review required before submission to the Secretary of State and circulation of petitions. Newland says the Legislative Research Council is researching both proposals to prepare the fiscal impact statement required since 2013 of initiated measures that may significantly affect jail populations.

According to the South Dakota Department of Corrections March 2015 statistical report, 1.51% of South Dakota’s inmates (54 out of 3,575) are in the hoosegow for distribution of marijuana. Feel free to estimate the number of alcohol and tobacco users and dealers who would risk running afoul of Consistent South Dakota’s proposals and the time and vigor with which our police would pursue them.

Consistent South Dakota’s organizers provide these statements on their proposals:

[Ziegler]: Consistent South Dakota is simply two South Dakota citizens who are fed up with a governing body that promotes and profits from the sale of two dangerous and addictive drugs, yet prosecutes, fines and jails its citizens for using a benign herb for medical use or social interaction.

[Newland]: The contradictions inherent in the way South Dakota treats alcohol and tobacco as opposed to the way it treats cannabis create great discord in our society. We’re just trying to create a consistent atmosphere here. The current laws are bad for all of us.

The magnitude of the illnesses and significantly-premature deaths caused by tobacco and alcohol is undisputed. No deaths and no significant ill effects are accurately attributed to cannabis. Tobacco and alcohol taxes are two of the largest income streams funding all levels of government. All of the profits from the cannabis trade are retained by the traders.

That model has existed for about 60 years, and has been improved to the benefit of the illegal traders every year. I’m not sure about alcohol consumption, but we’re told that tobacco consumption is declining. Cannabis consumption, however, continues to grow, with access to the illegal market opening up.

If South Dakota wants to continue profiting from the sales of deadly substances, while pretending to deny us access to cannabis, which anyone can obtain or sell without paying taxes, okay, fine. This is the first time they have ever been offered the chance to express their opinions on the issue [Consistent South Dakota, e-mail to Dakota Free Press, 2015.04.23].

Consistent South Dakota expects the AG, LRC, and SOS will clear these measures by June 15. Once greenlighted, Newland, Ziegler, and fellow petitioners will have until November 8 to collect and submit 13,871 signatures for each measure to win spots on the November 2016 general election ballot.

I appreciate the rhetorical exercise offered by these initiatives. These two ballot measures would challenge South Dakotans to discuss the relative harms of marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco and relative merits of outlawing marijuana while deriving public revenue from alcohol and tobacco. But will petitions to practically outlaw alcohol and tobacco in South Dakota promote that discussion? Can petitioners find three prohibitionists out of every hundred registered voters to sign the petition and put these measures on the ballot?

The faster Attorney General Jackley processes these two measures, and the faster the Legislative Research Council runs its spreadsheets, the sooner we will find out.


29 Responses to Initiated Measures to Outlaw Transfer of Alcohol and Tobacco on Desks of AG, LRC

  1. Bob Newland

    The valid signature requirement is 13, 871, not 18, 871.

  2. Bob Newland

    And after years of an expensive branding campaign, for which we paid Lawrence and Schiller $3 Million and two kilos of cocaine, folks still insist on referring to SoDakNORML.org as “South Dakota NORML.” Dog NABB It!

  3. Bob Newland

    Pretty phunny; Phaat Phough at War College has to read Dakota Free Press to have anything interesting to publish. If it doesn’t happen at Burger King or a Lincoln Day Dinner, he has no way of knowing it happened.

  4. Bob Newland

    I just noticed how much Phat Phough looks and acts like Chris Christie.

  5. Bob Newland wrote:
    >“If it doesn’t happen at Burger King or a Lincoln Day Dinner, [Pat Powers] has no way of knowing it happened.”

    Over the course of many years Powers intentionally mocked you and provoked you and lied about you and blocked your attempts to defend yourself. When you finally lashed out, you effectively handed him a club, and he apparently intends to take great sadistic pleasure in beating you with it for so long as you both shall live.

    It’s a terrible injustice, Bob, and I can relate, and I’m very sorry.

    It troubles me deeply that Christian John Thune supports SDWC’s perpetual defamation with his advertising dollars. Or maybe it’s blackmail. Maybe Powers charges politicians to have their names and faces taken OFF the site.

  6. Bob Newland wrote:
    >“I just noticed how much Phat Phough looks and acts like Chris Christie.”

    Eric Cartman.

  7. Bob Newland

    No Kurt, it’s not injustice. It’s justice, and I revel in it. My felony is a martyrdom. Or maybe you’re talking about that hot urine thing. That was, I admit, bad judgment on my part. I really menat to say that I would pour hot rancid anchovy oil down his chimney.

  8. Bob, I too feel that our mutual friend Mr. PP might be a little hard on you at times but you have to admit you have thrown a lot of dog poop in his yard during your trips through his neighborhood. I mean that in a very literal sense, of course.

  9. Bob Newland

    “Christian” John Thune. That’s funny. He’s about as Christian as most of the popes throughout history. It’s just a label he uses to attract a few votes.

  10. Bob Newland

    No grudznick, I never threw you on Phat Phough’s yard.

  11. How is that Vault place there, Bob? They let you stand around outside with little cigarettes while you wait for your pancakes-to-go?

  12. Bob Newland

    My dogs leave deposits of you near the Vault.

  13. mike from iowa

    Chris Christie=the Outlaw Jersey Whales. Attributions to Polite Kool Marxist from whom I heard it first,

  14. Deb Geelsdottir

    Mike, PKM does create very witty names and that one is a favorite of mine.

  15. I know that, Bob—my typing fingers obviously do not. Sorry about that—correction made above!

  16. So, anybody signing these petitions when they come out?

  17. I am.

  18. Bill Fleming

    You know, thinking outside the box a little, there could be quite a few tobacco and alcohol addicts who just might be relieved to find that those substances have become illegal.

    But more realistically, I’m guessing signatures on those petitions might be hard to come by. Not everyone shares Mr. Newland’s highly refined senses of humor, irony, and absurdist, performance art savy. Like it or not, this ain’t no New York City, Cory. Know what I’m sayin’?

  19. I think I do, Bill.

    Some Vermont legislators appear to share Newland and Ziegler’s sense of humor:

    Progressive Rep. Chris Pearson and Democratic Rep. Jean O’Sullivan, both from Burlington, held a news conference Wednesday to announce they had filed legislation to ban the sale of alcohol in Vermont.

    Both called the idea “laughable,” but said they are trying to further their arguments that marijuana is less harmful to individuals and to society than alcohol and should be legalized for adults.

    “Whereas prohibiting the sale and possession of alcohol is a laughable suggestion, the commonsense reaction against this idea should be the same logic we use to consider the continued prohibition of marijuana,” Pearson said.

    O’Sullivan said their purpose was “to point out that we currently have a drug that is legal and is way more dangerous than pot, and just trying to shine a bright light on this and say ‘get moving’” [Dave Gram, “Vermont Politicians Propose Ban on Alcohol Sales Until Pot Becomes Legal,” AP via The Cannabist, 2015.04.17].

    They call their bill (and hence, these initiative proposals) “laughable,” but they make their point.

    (By the way, Vermont’s Progressive Party has three elected state senators and six elected state representatives. Vermont’s legislature has 30 senators and 180 representatives.)

  20. Bob Newland

    With Eagle Forum money, Consistent South Dakota shall prevail.

  21. …don’t forget the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. They’re still kicking!

  22. Bob Newland

    Every time I think I’m gaining ground, Fleming comes along with adjectives like “highly-refined.” I mean, come on, man.

  23. Bill Fleming

    It’s okay Bob. You can’t help it that you’re sophisticated.

  24. barry freed

    Bob,
    One day marijuana connoisseurs will erect a statue of you in Wilson Park, site of much, joyous pot destruction. Your Initiatives prove the quality today is much better than the Wilson Park smoke that inspired intellectual discussions of sub atomic worlds that are created and die off in a moment, their whole history taking place next to a flashing neon light, and which color of tree leaves is the best.
    It got me to thinking…
    How about an Initiative to commit to the the Schools, divided equally per student still enrolled in May, one hundred percent of all pot seizure proceeds. Cash and proceeds from vehicle and home sales, combined with a contract to sell the Colorado and Washington State Lawyer Bud back to Colorado and Washington for $50 per ounce should give needed relief to property tax payers.

  25. Bob Newland

    Wilson Park. Statue of me with erection. Does that have to get past the school board or the city council? Will Don Perdue pay James Van Nuys to create the bronze?

  26. Bill Fleming

    Get Cialis or Viagra to sponser it. ;-)

  27. Melissa Mentele

    Bob Newland- you are and always will be my hero. Your twisted sense of irony always warms my heart. Game on SD we definitely will be making people scratch their heads with cannabis, Tobacco and alcohol on the ballot….pick your poison people.

  28. Melissa, it’s not the people who get to pick their poison but the corporations.

  29. Oliver Steinberg

    Let’s have some “equal protection of the laws,” not to mention “equal justice under law,” and besides, with the invasive ability to spy on everybody all the time, which modern electronic technology provides, THIS TIME we can outlaw alcohol successfully, dontcha think? (Do it now or Sharia law will do it later. Which way is Mecca?) What about tobacco–it’s never been successfully outlawed, so actually this law would greatly enrich the tobacco pushers because they’d no longer have to report income or pay taxes. Law enforcement officers would get so many bribes that whole new subdivisions of McMansions would sprout up in So Dak . . . North Dakota will eventually run out of oil but So Dak will never run out of fools.